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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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. 
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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