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

A Modest Proposal*


I think we've all had to work with that guy.*** You know the one - the one who loves the sound of his own voice, and can't shut up in meetings even though his comments add no value to the conversation. The one who thinks the rules don't apply to him, and thinks being called to task for breaking them indicates you have a problem, not him. The one who has no filter and no self-control, so in times of stress becomes rude, surly, and unable to constructively discuss the issue at hand. The one who is seemingly incapable of seeing the world as it is, only seeing what he wants to see and telling himself his stories often enough that he truly believes what he tells himself is true even in the light of demonstrable facts to the contrary. That guy.

I've had to deal with that guy in a number of different contexts - work, school, volunteer work, family. It's never fun, and never easy, but I've come up with some strategies for dealing with him.

But what if that guy is the de facto leader of the free world? Will the same strategies work when the stakes are so damnably high? Let's find out.

Strategy One: Remove that guy from the group. This is always my first choice. Whether that guy is a teammate, a classmate, or a "I can't believe I'm related to this putz" family member, getting rid of them will always yield the best possible result. Remember, that guy is incapable of looking at the world objectively or critically. No matter what you try to do, or how you approach their behavior, you are never going to convince them that they are anything other than tremendous and that everyone else is the problem. So if you give him the heave-ho, then this specific problem is resolved, permanently. AIRLOCK.

Unfortunately, this is not an option for dealing with 45. Our rank and file Republican Senate and House are not going to impeach this motherfucker even if he kills a sitting Senator in broad daylight and it's caught on film, nor will they invoke the 25th Amendment even if he's in a coma. Party loyalty and all that. So, moving on.

Strategy Two: Try to work around them. This strategy is sometimes necessary, and always sticks in my craw. It bugs me because in this context, "working around them" usually involves coddling their enormous egos, and "making nice" in order to keep the peace. Yeah, fuck that. Like the Dixie Chicks, I'm not ready to make nice, and doing so with this Administration would only be construed as an act of weakness, anyway.

Strategy Three: Marginalize their ass. I really consider this to be the only viable option when it comes to 45 and his Administration of stumbling bumpkies. We need to marginalize him, prevent him from harming the country on a long term basis, and try to encourage the other two branches of government to get in our corner.

What does this look like? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Let's start with the press. While I realize that 45's daily faux pas with his damnable Twitter account is like manna from heaven, can you please just ignore these half-baked rantings? He's clearly using them to distract from the other half-baked bullshit he's up to, and I think the press should concentrate on the shenanigans that have a real, lasting, negative impact on our country, using the "if I report it, is there a chance we can stop it/change it" yardstick. 45's an embarrassment, an unserious bully with no sense of decorum, class, human kindness, critical thinking, or morality. It doesn't matter how often he's called out on his boorish behavior - he's never going to change because he never thinks he does anything wrong. Please, allow the comedians, the psychologists, and the public to analyze and poke fun and lament about what a tool he is, and concentrate on what he and his administration are doing to destroy our institutions and our cultural norms. White House press briefings are a joke? Treat them as such and send cardboard cutouts to sit in your designated seats. The Administration lies their ass off as a matter of course? Fail to report their fantasies except in a "look what these liar, liar, pants on fire doofus' are saying now" kind of way, and invest your Twitter following time and money in more investigative journalism.

Next, let's concentrate on the legislative branch. From a "balance of power" perspective, Congress really is the only organization that can provide meaningful long term road blocks to 45's lunacy. Unconstitutional or immoral Executive Orders can be overturned by the Courts or rescinded by the next President, but shitty, immoral, bigoted laws are harder to shitcan once they're on the books. Our Senators and Representatives need to understand, really understand, that their jobs are at stake when they support initiatives like the Republican Health Care fiasco. Nothing changes a politician's mind faster than the real possibility of not getting re-elected. In politics as in sales, you get the behavior you pay for, and we need to make sure we're using currency these self-involved dipshits understand.

Lastly, let's take a good, long, hard look in the mirror. Don't like 45 or his complicit legislative branch? Well, so what? What are you doing personally to limit the damage these boot-licking, "fuck you I've got mine." horror show human beings are doing? Are you involved? Do you contact your elected representatives on the issues that matter to you? Do you protest when the government is trying to do something with which you vehemently disagree? Do you contribute money to organizations who fight the good fight as their core mission? Do you vote? If the answer to these questions is a sheepish "no," then you're part of the problem, and you need to either get off your ass and take some action, or admit that you're comfortable enough with the status quo that working to make things better isn't important to you. I'm not suggesting that every person is a position to do all these things - people's lives are complicated, and we all have many priorities that pull us in different directions. But you gotta do SOMETHING.

Don't normalize this bullshit. Don't fool yourself into believing that people from other countries aren't judging the shit out of us as a citizenry for this terrible choice we've made. Don't think that your actions (or inaction) don't have serious, long-term consequences for us and those who come after us. Take some responsibility for the direction of our country, and actively participate in our representative democracy by making sure your voice is heard and that you vote in every election, every time. It's never been easier to broadly communicate your opinions, ideals, and thoughts to those who make decisions for us all.

It's time to adult, y'all. The 2018 midterms are closer than you believe, and we should all think about it, and make a plan that will allow us to take control of our country's destiny.

It's a modest proposal, after all. 
________

*While it would be tempting to suggest our current political woes would be dealt with appropriately by eating 45 and his Administration, that is not what I'm proposing. Jonathan Swift notwithstanding, I suspect the fat and gristle content would preclude such a plan, even if it wasn't outside social norms to eat your elected officials.**

**Really, I'm not suggesting we eat the President or his Administration. I don't need the Secret Service knocking on my door. The Jonathan Swift reference is satire. Also: Ew.

***In my experience that guy is almost always a man. I'm quite sure there are numerous examples of that woman out there, but I've worked my entire adult life in male-dominated fields, and so have an excess of exposure to that guy. 

Link Me Up, Scotty - Just the Facts Ma'am

Thursday, July 6, 2017

GRAIN OF SALT WARNING: Slate is considered a left-bias media source. However, the piece featured below is an opinion column, and should be read as such.

Slate's erudite and highly intelligent Supreme Court correspondent Dahlia Lithwick has some advice for the White House Press Corps. The money quote:
"...if the White House doesn’t want to talk to the public anymore, maybe the public should stop covering the show; it’s long since been established that nothing that happens at a press briefing is either interesting or true. Instead, the press corps should redouble its efforts to cover the White House as an institution rather than a sorry accretion of unstable personalities. The best curative for fake news, it seems to me, is to avoid engaging with fake people."
________

German Chancellor Angela Merkel no longer considers the United States a "friend" to Germany. Fellow Americans, this is what irrelevancy tastes like.
________

Disembarking from Air Force One, 45 appears to have missed the Presidential Limo waiting for him at the bottom of the ramp and wondered away in search of his ride. No snark here. This isn't at all funny, it's just scary as shit with a side of compassion.
________

Why both sides of the aisle are full of shit when it comes to political discourse and how CNN's doxing of that trolling jerkwad who made the "Trump vs CNN" video is a disproportional response.

Um, yes. As with dark magic, constant vigilance is required to avoid hypocrisy.
________

Today's sources as rated by Media Bias/Fact Check
  • Slate: An English-language online current affairs, politics and culture magazine in the United States that trends towards a liberal viewpoint through story choices and wording. Slate tends to source to credible information, but uses rather sensationalized headlines to increase clicks.
  • The Independent: A British online newspaper. Established in 1986 as an independent national morning newspaper published in London, it was controlled by Tony O’Reilly’s Independent News & Media from 1997 until it was sold to Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev in 2010. Since March 2016, it is no longer printed, but is available for readers online. The Independent tends to take a classical liberal, pro-market stance on economic issues. Has a left of center editorial stance.
  • Washington Journal: An American television series on the C-SPAN network in the format of a political call-in and interview program. The program features elected officials, government administrators and journalists as guests, answering questions from the hosts and from members of the general public, who call into the studio or submit questions via e-mail and social media. The Washington Journal is very careful to screen calls to ensure that all sides of the political spectrum are being represented. Their panel also consists of journalists who represent both left and right. Overall, Washington Journal is low biased. In reviewing their website content it appears that there is a very slight left leaning bias toward stories that favor the left. This however, is not enough to move this source. Washington Journal is least biased. 
  • Popehat. A group blog about whatever its authors want. Often its authors want to talk about free speech, liberty, criminal justice, the legal system and its foibles, and related issues. But Popehat isn't a law blog, and what you read there isn't legal advice. 

Link Me Up, Scotty - Lies, More Lies, and Stupidity

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Speaking of lying liars of lies, here's a quick analysis about what the Republicans are trying to cover up with their shitty health care plan. They know they're going to hurt millions of people with this legislation, and they simply don't care. But they don't want you to know they don't care, so they continue to lie their lying asses off.
________

One climate scientist is determined not to let the ignorance of 45's administration become the norm.
________

You know what scares the shit out of me? This. Watching these two freeze-dried whackadoos get into some sort of nuclear pissing contest with millions of lives in the balance. Angels and ministers of grace, defend us.
________

Caleb Wilde, funeral director and author, posts a lovely idea about how we treat the dead and honor them into our lives.
________

I have to say, I found this more than a little funny. Reading is fundamental, trolls. Your should try it some time, along with a basic civics class.
________

This mom is sick and tired of reading about how everything she does is bad for her kids and why that makes her a terrible parent. Sing it, sister.
________

Republican supporters of ChumpCare are laying low during the recess because hardly anyone wants that piece of shit to pass, and the Republicans simply don't want to hear it. They've demonstrated again and again and again that the best interest of their constituents is not even in their top 10 concerns - why can't conservatives see this, and act accordingly? It truly is one of the great mysteries of our time.

ALSO: Be sure to communicate your opinion of ChumpCare to your Senators and Representatives DAILY until the decision is made one way or the other. Let's keep the pressure on!
________

Today's sources as rated by Media Bias/Fact Check
  • The Washington Post: Paper of record. 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.
  • Confessions of a Funeral Director: The personal blog of Caleb Wilde.
  • Yahoo News: Yahoo News curates news from a variety of sources and writers.  Some are not properly sourced.  Overall, Yahoo News tends to have a Left-center bias in reporting and wording.
  • New York Times: Paper of record. An American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since September 18, 1851, by The New York Times Company. The New York Times has won 117 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. NYT is well sourced and factual in reporting.  The paper has a pretty strong left wing editorial bias, but is considered one of the most reliable sources for information.

An Open Letter to the Coward Cory Gardner, Part 6

Monday, July 3, 2017

Dear Senator Gardner,

Today's missive is in regards to the President's most recent uninformed suggestion, i.e., the idea that the best thing to do for healthcare in this country is to repeal the Affordable Care Act immediately, and then sorting it all out at some undefined later date.

The stupidity of this idea is only surpassed by its callousness.

Let's look at some of the issues surrounding such a plan, shall we?
  • It could cost more than 20 million Americans the coverage they've gained under the law and propel the individual insurance market into a spiral of increasingly higher premiums and insurer exits. But it's all good because you've repealed the black guy's signature legislation and that's what really matters, amirite?
  • This law touches 5.8% of the economy. Is there a plan to address the economic repercussions, or is it more a fly by the seat of your pants kind of deal?
  • Given that the far right is a-okay with throwing people off their health insurance willy-nilly, what assurances do we have that this TREMENDOUS new health care plan will be anything other than a shit show?
You people want the ACA to better serve your constituents (and by "constituents" I mean actual human beings who actually use health care, not "companies")? Then work within the existing structure to do right for PEOPLE. Not for companies, not for the egotist living in the White House. For us. The ones to whom you owe your duty.

Or better yet, join the civilized world in providing guaranteed basic health care in a single payer system. 

Signed,

Janiece

Link Me Up, Scotty - Vote Early, Vote Often Edition


Turns out the vice-chair of 45's "Voter Fraud Panel," Kris Kobach, has roots in White Supremacy and proudly calls himself as "the ACLU's worst nightmare." His work as the Secretary of State in Kansas has made that state #1 in the nation in terms of restricting ballot access, and Secretary Kobach has a pretty serious obsession with non-existent voter fraud, immigration policy, and a belief "that a rise in Latino immigration could lead to the “ethnic cleansing” of whites."

Because nothing fulfills the Oath of the Kansas Secretary of State like circumventing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, viewing the Equal Protection Clause as a mere suggestion, or a belief that broad-based participation in a democracy is not always a good thing. With narrow-based participation in a democracy being defined as CIS, white, conservative men getting to decide the future of our country without any interference from those pesky brown folk, of course.

What a douche.
________

But not everyone's cheering the "Marginalize the Browns" Crazy Train. Representing over 30% of the nation's population, over two dozen states have refused to comply with the Voter Fraud Panel's request to turn over their voter roles. More states are only "partially complying" with the request, providing only information that is required to be publicly available by law. And this is an equal opportunity resistance, as the states refusing to comply or only partially complying are both red and blue. So the invasion of privacy and resistance to the "widespread voter fraud" myth is a bipartisan effort, strangely enough.

IRONY ALERT: one of the states only partially complying is...Kansas. Where the current Secretary of State, the aforementioned Kris Kobach, was just fined by a Federal Judge for “presenting misleading arguments in a voting-related lawsuit.”
________

From the go science, go pooches files: A British naturalist is working to protect lions from villages who hunt them when the lions eat their livestock. One of the ways she does this is introducing Anatolian dogs to act as guardians for the livestock, and to help the villagers earn money by protecting the lions in the adjacent National Park in Tanzania. Mighty Girl! Mighty Pooches!
________

My favorite Christian Pastor on the blindness and comfort of privilege, and how the America we thought we lost in recent years is still an idea worth fighting for.
________

Local news: The Castle Rock Police Department has started wearing body cameras. Castle Rock doesn't have a lot of violent crime, but there's more than in our previous community (Parker). I approve of body cameras in principle, but recognize that in many cases, context is missing from the recording.
________

Video of the Week: Former President of Mexico Vincente Fox has another video message for 45. I love this fucking guy.



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Today's Sources as evaluated by Media Bias/Fact Check:
  • The New York Times: Paper of record. The NYT is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since September 18, 1851, by The New York Times Company. The New York Times has won 117 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. NYT is well sourced and factual in reporting.  The paper has a pretty strong left wing editorial bias, but is considered one of the most reliable sources for information. 
  • The Washington Post: Paper of record.  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.
  • BBC Magazine: The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster.  It is headquartered at Broadcasting House in London, and is the world’s oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. The BBC is an outstanding journalistic source.  They have just a slight left of center political bias in reporting coverage and they are always impeccably sourced.
  • Stuff That Needs to be Said: The personal blog of Pastor John Pavlovitz. 
  • Castle Rock Government: The official website of the Government of Castle Rock, Colorado.
  • Super Deluxe: An omni-platform entertainment company committed to amplifying unconventional creative voices.