Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Teacher's Walkout At Breaking Point - Rotten Apple


Image Attribution: Roberta F.


Public school teachers have staged walkouts in multiple states in protest for higher pay and more funding for public schools. When watching some of these teachers being interviewed, it is difficult to reconcile that individuals in our society with some of the highest education levels among us have to work side jobs and still not be able to make ends meet. One teacher said he could not afford to enroll his wife in the health insurance plan provided for him as a teacher. When reviewing a national list of average teacher pay it was eye opening. Starting salaries ranged from the low $30,000 range to the mid $40,000 range. After years of experience the top pay was still under $80,000.  Don't look at the higher end salaries in a vacuum because they are often in very high cost of living areas. Let us be reminded that these are people with college degrees and some have multiple Master's degrees. With college degrees come student loans and debt. Many of these teachers are still paying off their own student loans and now their children are ready for college. Almost all of these teachers did into their own pockets to pay for supplies for the their classrooms and students. Why have we allowed teachers and our public education system to be starved for resources the way they are. Our public schools and the people that keep them going seem to have become and afterthought, just like the American infrastructure.

Our public schools have become the place children go to five days per week while their parents are working. The kids are dropped off, picked up by a bus, drive or walk to school five days a week and show up back home later in the day. What happens during that school day is not top-of-mind to the vast majority of Americans, but not to the teachers and students. Teachers deal with the issues, attitudes and behaviors students bring with them on a daily basis. Teachers deal with the lack of resources provided to them with undiminished expectations when it comes to performance and student test scores whether they can pay their bills or not. Being a teacher may be a calling, but it should not be a sacrifice through hardship and economic deprivation. We must think of our public education system as part of our national infrastructure and if it is not invested in, it will crumble just like our highways. Funneling money into the pockets of the wealthy at the cost of everything else is a recipe for disaster. 

Thus far the walkouts have been in states that solidly supported Donald Trump in the prior Presidential election. There are dots to be connected that can not be ignored. Funding of public schools is a function of federal, state and local governments. President Trump appointed an anti-public school advocate as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. DeVos is a supporter of moving public schools funds to private and religious schools. Teachers and those supporting them need to connect the dots and make sure they are voting in their best interests in the future. Teacher need to be thanked, appreciated and PAID! 
 


Thursday, June 29, 2017

BOTUS - Bully Of The United States

BOTUS - Bully Of The United States


Donald Trump is destroying the office of the President of the United States from the inside out due to his inability to rise above high school levels of pettiness and skin thinner than an onion's. With everything going on in the world from North Korea, ISIS and health care bill debate, Trump decided to launch a sexist personal attack against MSNBC news personality Mika Brzezinski. Trump didn't like the criticism that came his way on the show Morning Joe and tweeted the below:

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
    I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came..

- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2017
    ...to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!

When he gets attacked "he will punch back 10 times harder," response from First Lady Melania Trump defending Donald Trump's twitter attack on a cable news anchor.

Donald Trump is not some teenager trading insults with another teenager. Donald Trump is President ofthe United States, except he does not understand what that means. This is what a minority of voters forced upon us as President of the United States due to the quirk of the Electoral College. Trump is a seventy one year old engaging in serial lying and bullying from the lofty perch of the office of President of the United States. Donald Trump is systematically destroying the prestige and credibility of the office of President of the United States from the inside out like worm destroys the fruit in inhabits until it is just a hollow shell.

Trump does not rise to the level to be call POTUS, but he is the first President to be the BOTUS, Bully Of The United States. Will this national nightmare ever end?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

My Obamacare Experience and Myth of The Healthcare Queen

Patient Before Surgery

While writhing in pain, I watched the United States Senate roll out their secretly created Obamacare replacement plan was really no different that the hated House of Representatives plan that cut $800 billion from Medicaid and redistributed it to the wealthy as a tax cut. The Senate changed the timing of some changes and attempted to hide takeaways by placing them in opt out options for states. As I sat there listening the “slight of word” doublespeak from one Senator after another the thought in my mind were that you people don’t give a dams about people out here suffering though a sudden medical emergency or dealing with a chronic medical condition.

You see, I am a throwaway line in the healthcare debate. I purchased my insurance through a national exchange provider in a non-Medicaid expansion state and pay 100% of my premiums for my family with $0 subsidies and have done so for years. I’m self-employed. I was watching the Senate Republicans introduce their healthcare dollars redistribution tax cut for the rich disguised as a healthcare plan in utter disgust punctuated by pain. You must understand that my pain had an expiration date and that would be the day I walked in a medical facility for an outpatient procedure to end it. I was trapped between my diagnosis and cure by scheduling dates and access to Dr. and facility, not lack of coverage or money, etc, but all are not so positioned and that was what was pissing me off so much by this new Senate plan.

I have been blessed to be in a position to handle my own business, but the Affordable Care Act allowed millions of people like me to obtain health insurance, period, in spite of some previous diagnosis like high blood pressure or diabetes without being destroyed by premiums higher than those without preexisting ailments. That is the premise of insurance, large payment pool, shared risk with a percentage of use that ensures viability of the overall plan. The Senate bill will eliminate the individual mandate requiring all to purchase insurance or pay a fine, they call it free choice, I call it gutting the premise of insurance period. That mandate increases the pool that supports the plan. Senate Republicans are telling younger, healthier people to be free riders and access healthcare through emergency rooms or doc in the boxes in retail strip shopping centers, guess what; once they access that treatment many of them will have a pre-existing condition. Those healthy young people will not always be that way.
Why do they want to gut Medicaid and what is Medicaid anyway? The following is from the https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/eligibility/index.html website:

Eligibility
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that, together with the Children’s Health Insurance Program, provides health coverage to over 72.5 million Americans, including children, pregnant women, parents, seniors and individuals with disabilities. Medicaid is the single largest source of health coverage in the United States.   
In order to participate in Medicaid, federal law requires states to cover certain groups of individuals. Low income families, qualified pregnant women and children, and individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are examples of mandatory eligibility groups. States have additional options for coverage and may choose to cover other groups, such as individuals receiving home and community based services and children in foster care who are not otherwise eligible.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 created the opportunity for states to expand Medicaid to cover nearly all low-income Americans under age 65. Eligibility for children was extended to at least 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) in every state (most states cover children to higher income levels) and states were given the option to extend eligibility to adults with income at or below 133 percent of the FPL. The majority of states have chosen to expand coverage to adults, and those that have not yet expanded may choose to do so at any time.

Why cut Medicaid? Medicaid covers the most vulnerable among us, Low income families, qualified pregnant women and children, and individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as examples. Obamacare gave states the option to expand Medicaid to cover nearly all low-income Americans under 65 and that is why these Senators want so take $800 billion from Medicaid and give it to the wealthy. Republicans have traded in the term Welfare Queen for a new label Healthcare Queen as a scare tactic. The latest dog whistle of Republicans is tax fairness, basically stoking resentment that those paying taxes are paying for others getting benefits of free healthcare. 
Mick Mulvaney, White House Director of management and Budget wrote said in an article published in the Miami Herald, that many social program users were stealing from taxpayers footing the bills because they didn't intent to pay it back. Mulvaney's attitude is a throwback to the era of the welfare queen talk of years gone by except the word welfare was exchanged for healthcare.

There is only one problem with the tax fairness argument and it not something they can get away with, because most people know someone in their family that are on, have used or will use Medicaid in the future and they are not all in some distant urban ghetto. We are talking about voters’ parents, disabled children or themselves having the rug pulled from under them. I have watched loved ones and friends getting long term nursing home care take their last breaths in nursing homes and did not understand at the time that their financial support for healthcare came from Medicaid. Obamacare's Medicaid expansion pays subsidies so those that financialy qualify now have health insurance, so this is where we are.

Before I could proceed to getting that supremely painful kidney stone laser blasted from by body, I had to settle up financially with the hospital for my portion and did so. A question was asked about what would happen if I didn’t have the money available.  It was explained that people without the means to pay would need to appeal to the hospital board and various factors would be considered.  I wanted the pain to end that was unrelenting and could not imagine having to suffer longer for financial or lack of insurance coverage reasons.
Finally the moment of truth arrived.  After being poked, having blood taken and hooked up to and electrocardiogram machine, the anesthesiologist came in and spoke to me. I signed some consent forms. He inserted a syringe into my IV connection and I recall being wheeled through the day surgery doors and watching my wife make the turn to go to the waiting room. The next thing I recalled was a nurse saying something to me in the same room I was in before the procedure. I opened my eyes and there was no pain. I was told the procedure went flawlessly. I left the hospital with several thoughts. My medical emergency that was not on my radar screen three weeks ago was over. The pain was gone. I was still financially viable in spite of this ordeal due to Obamacare, because my deductible was now met for the year and I was able to get a policy in spite of having a pre-exisiting condition in the first place that was not denied or priced multiple times a healthy individual’s rate.

The primary thought I had was would I transfer to pain I suffered to someone else to suffer longer or get a couple hundred dollar tax cut for myself or for millions of thousands in tax cuts for wealthy individuals just  because they were poor, aged or disabled? The answer is no. Healthcare should be like highways that we all pay for and can use. If someone wants extra then that should be what for profit insurance companies are for just like toll roads. We must remember that health insurance companies are middlemen that pay for healthcare service from actual providers. Medicare does the same thing and pays healthcare bills without a profit added on top. Sure, your plan premiums can be lowered if fewer services are required to be covered, just don’t get sick, old or became disabled. The Republican healthcare plan can lower premiums by allowing states to opt out of certain essential benefits coverage, but that would be like driving on a highway with planned potholes in certain lanes.
These politicians are treating people like property. I am familiar with property insurance and if your home is damaged to the point where it not livable by a covered loss most policies will provide for additional living expense for temporary housing until your home is repaired. If you have rental car coverage on an automobile insurance policy you can get a rental car to use until your car is repaired from a covered loss. If you are struck by an illness or ailment you cannot rent, move into or live in a relative’s body until your body is healed enough for you to move back into like a property insurance claim. The last time people were treated like property in this nation was during slavery.

Health care is personal, intimate and deeply tied to individual self esteem. The sad truth is our lawmakers’ zeal to throw the most vulnerable citizens into a healthcare wasteland for the sake of their wealthy donors show how low we have sunk. Unfortunately profit is the problem, profit from sickness. I know this is a capitalistic society, but like getting on a public highway is the way healthcare should be because it is basic like travel. We would not get very far if the roads were good only in the rich parts of the country. 

Bottom line is that healthcare should be a human right in the United States because I would not wish for anyone else to suffer pain like I had longer than I did due to a lack of money or health insurance coverage to give more money to the wealthiest among us.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Trump Destroys United States' 241 Year Global Reputation - Unpatriotic Congressional Cowards Watch Silently

President Donald Trump


George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy were all United States Presidents that were among the greatest in the 241 year history of this nation. These men and others that served in the highest office in the land led the United States from its infancy to the highest heights on the world stage. Over time the holder of the title of President of the United States was considered leader of the free world, until the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, took office.

It took 241 years for the United States to become the nation and society we took for granted in today's world. Americans have always thought of themselves as privileged among citizens of the world. We enjoyed freedoms and opportunities that many citizens of other nations could only dream about.

George Washington commanded the army that fought for the independence of the country and became the first President of a new nation. Abraham Lincoln led the United States through its most painful period of division during the Civil War and put the United States back together as one country and ended slavery. Franklin Roosevelt led the United States out of the Great Depression, led the world into the nuclear weapon age and brought the country into NATO as a member. John F. Kennedy caused us to reach for the moon and faced down the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis.Other Presidents left their marks on the history of the United States. Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act and conducted the War on Poverty with programs like food stamps and Head Start. George W. Bush ushered the United States through recovery after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Barack Obama led the United States out of the Great Recession, delivered the first national health care program and killed Osama Bin Laden who led the group that attacked the country on 9-11-2001.

Throughout the 241 years of history of this great nation, each President built upon the foundation of those that came before them. Despite his humiliating ending with Watergate, Richard Nixon opened relationship with China, announced the EPA and signed the Clean Air Act, but now we have President Donald Trump.

President Trump witnessed the Russians attack the United States using cyber warfare and, unlike Kennedy making them back down, Trump invited them attack us on live television. Unlike Roosevelt and Johnson who strengthened social safety nets for the poor and vulnerable, Trump  wants to rip the bottom out of them with tax cuts for the rich. Where Nixon signed environmental protection measures into law, Trump wants to rip the guts out of them in the name of business profits. Trump has been a rolling boulder destroying Presidential achievements like a bowling ball knocking down pins at a bowling alley. Nothing is safe or sacred with Trump in office.

The United States of American, the nation long looked to by free societies worldwide as a beacon of light, strength and protection is being withdrawn in to a giant turtle shell by it's 45th President. Donald Trump has been a growing catastrophe taking a sledgehammer to the legacy of out beloved country. Roosevelt brought us into NATO, but Trump insults them and has a hostile attitude toward our closest allies. With regards to our longest standing geopolitical adversary, Russia, Trump is involved in an unexplained appeasement with a country that just attacked the United States by meddling in our Presidential election.

Trump's team is under continuing investigation and he fired the director of the FBI while he was leading the probe into Trump's ties to Russian hacking into the United States election and if there was collusion with Trump aligned individuals. While the 241 years reputation of the United States earned with blood, sweat and tears is being burned to the ground by Donald Trump, a group of political cowards in what is supposed to be a check on an rampaging Executive Branch, Congress, sit by and play their fiddles as Trump continues to destroy us from the inside out. Putin's puppet is trying to fulfill the words of an earlier Russian Vladimir with a last name of Lenin who said:

"First we will take Eastern Europe, then the masses of Asia. We will encircle the last bastion of capitalism, the United States of America. We will not need to fight. It will fall as a ripe fruit into our hands." Vladimir Lenin the 1920s.

 Congress must grow a spine, rediscover what real patriotism means and stop Trump from destroying almost two and a half centuries of work building the United States into the greatest nation on earth.

Trump - Nixon on Steriods - Available on Amazon.com

 




Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Trump Budget Punches Poor, Sick, Children & Trump Supporters In The Throat

President Donald J. Trump
While President Donald Trump was traveling abroad his 2018 Federal budget was released. Straight from the White House website it is titled:

"President Trump's Taxpayer First Budget

President Trump's first proposed budget shows respect for the people who pay the bills. The administration's proposal reverses the damaging trends from previous administrations by putting our nation's budget back into balance and reducing our debt through fiscally conservative principles, all the while delivering on President Trump's campaign promise not to cut Social Security retirement or Medicare. The budget's combination of regulatory, tax, and welfare reforms will provide opportunities for economic growth and creation." source : https://www.whitehouse.gov/taxpayers-first

The above is not a joke, it is directly from the White House website. A simple translation of that title and subtext is that rich people are paying the bills and deserve the spoils. Some budget bullet points:

  • $3.6 trillion in cuts over 10 years
  • Repeal and replace Obamacare - $250 Billion saving (Medicaid cut)
  • Reform Medicaid by giving States the choice between a per capita cap and a block grant - save $610 billion over 10 years (Medicaid cut)
  • The Budget proposes a series of reforms to SNAP (food stamps)  that  close  eligibility  loopholes,  target benefits  to  the  neediest  households,  and  require able-bodied adults to work. Increase state benefit match to 23% by 2023.
  • The Budget proposes a series of reforms to SNAP (food stamps)  that  close  eligibility  loopholes,  target benefits  to  the  neediest  households,  and  require able-bodied adults to work. Increase state benefit match to 23% by 2023. (translation - Kick people off food stamps)
  •  Reform Disability Programs. The Budget proposes to reform disability insurance programs to promote greater LFP(Labor Force Participation). (translation - Kick people off Social Security Disability Insurance) 
  • Reform Federal Employees Retirement Benefits - increasing employee payments to the defined benefit Federal Employee Retirement System pension and reducing  or eliminating cost-of-living adjustments for existing and  future retirees
  • Extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) - extended through 2019 with higher state matching in future.
  • Reform Student Loan Programs - Budget eliminates the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, establishes reforms to  guarantee that all borrowers in IDR pay an equitable share of their income, and eliminates subsidized loans
These are the losers in Trump's 2018 budget, the poor(including children), sick and elderly through Medicaid and social program cuts. Rural areas where a lot of Trump voters that depend on Medicaid and Obamacare live, lose big league.
Who wins in Trump's 2018 budget. Defense spending increase of $52 billion to $639 billion. Immigration and Border security get $71.8 billion. The wealthy get an elimination of the estate tax penalty and a reduction of the business tax rate.  
Source: Trump Budget
   
Mick Mulvaney, White House Director of management and Budget wrote said in an article published in the Miami Herald, that many social program users were stealing from taxpayers footing the bills because they didn't intent to pay it back. Mulvaney's attitude is a throwback to the era of the welfare queen talk of years gone by, except the reality is that the person being hurt is an elderly White woman in rural America instead of the stereotypical Black woman of urban legends.




Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Death Panel Votes On Healthcare



The Death Panel Votes on Healthcare

Do you remember the shrill screams about death panels deciding who would get access to healthcare before the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, was passed into law? It did not happen. Well fast forward to 2017 and the same political party that was railing against the passage of Obamacare using the death panel scare tactic is in control of both the Legislative and Executive branches of the United States government. Guess what, they are voting to change health care by ushering in a real death panel or more precisely, death pools.

The aforementioned is not hyperbole. This is how it works. States can set up high risk pools for those with preexisting medical conditions, you know, those people that have not lived "good lives" as one Republican Congressman said who deserved to get cheaper health insurance. I guess living a bad life includes having high blood pressure, Cancer, asthma or severe allergies. It's is like their creating modern day medical leper colonies. The party line is that states will have to apply for a waiver and set up high risk pools to opt out of the community rating provision currently in the Affordable Care Act. Fast forward two years when the Medicaid expansion that supports many of the subsidies that are used to create parity in health cost for everyone without regard to preexisting medical conditions changes and states will be force to create high risk health pools. Yes, there will be access to health care for all, but we are back to at what price. Many with obviously higher medical care costs will be priced out of the market and therein lies the death pool.

Republicans finally found their medical death panel by looking in the mirror.

http//DTPollard.com   

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Black Man In Trump's Crime Infested Ghetto



As I sit here on the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday January 16, 2017 with the knowledge that four days later on January 20, 2017 Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. There is a wide emotional swing that is taking place in my mind as a day celebrating the life of a man that sought equality for all will be swiftly followed by the elevation of  man that said he would ban an entire religion from entering the country and boasted how his fame allowed him to have his way with women with or without their consent. We live in curious times indeed, but we had an election, as tainted as it was with Russian and other interference, that elected this man to be the leader of the free world. Despite losing the popular vote by almost three million votes to his major political party opponent, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States. I await his assistance.

As I sit here in the crime infested inner city ghetto that I must surely live in as a Black American, I'm asking for your help in getting out, not. You see, what I have learned in the transition period between President Barak Obama and Donald Trump is that Trump views the United States through some type of stereotypical lens that has shaped his world view. Blacks have their place, in the ghetto. Immigrants have their place, out of the country. And women have their place, there for his pleasure, if they are a 10 on his scale, of course.

So now we are about to take a voyage on the USS - Ununited States of America, captained by President Donald J. Trump. Passengers please put on your life vests and be prepared to evacuate to your personal survival pods at a moment's notice. Godspeed.

Trump - Plutocracy and Apartheid USA - Amazon.com