East, West, North & South– Something’s Happening Here (& There . . .)
[On February 4] Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), one of the relatively few members of Congress who has held public town hall meetings in 2017, was beset by protesters in the city of Roseville, Calif. More than 1,000 people gathered in front of a venue that could seat 200, and many of those who got inside protested McClintock, a conservative who represents one of the state’s few safe Republican seats, for favoring the president’s executive orders on refugees and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Before Congress Repeals & Destroys My Family’s Health Care–
Let me say a bit about it.
I’m retired, age 74. Living modestly on Social Security and a bit more; breaking even, few luxuries, no complaints.
I have a partner, four children, five grandchildren, a great grandchild due next summer. I’m white, though my family is mixed.
Overall, we’ve been pretty healthy. No big catastrophes–car crashes, cancer, or crystal meth. So far.
But “stuff happens.”And some stuff has happened to us: two grandkids turned up needing serious surgeries. One of their parents collapsed & almost died from untreated hypertension.
And as for me, I’ve got stents in vessels around the heart. Been in three times for that. Plus a couple blood clots.
And don’t get me started about kidney stones.
But it could be worse.
It could be a whole lot worse for me without Medicare. And for several family members without the ACA and Medicaid.
How much worse? Let me mention one number about Medicare: $5000. That’s what my “gravy train socialistic” Medicare already costs me per year; or rather, this year.
(Again, no complaints; but when the talk turns toward “takers & freeloaders,” can we just skip that part?)
Now suppose these arrangements all get upended, as is on the table in many high places in Washington and seems all too likely. Consider:
Several of us, including me, have “pre-existing conditions,”potentially serious ones. And if Medicare was turned into something like vouchers, these would make premium costs jump even higher–if the others and I could get any coverage at all.
And what about the kids, those unexpected surgeries? And what if that “stuff happens” thing, happens again?
I’ve seen the bills for some of it: the tab on my first stent was around $50,000, before Medicare got hold of it. And one ER visit for a kidney stone attack ran over $1000 per hour. And those were several years back; hospital cost inflation “stuff” happens too.
Yeah. Without Medicare it wouldn’t take much such “stuff” to completely ruin me. Health effects aside, I could be bankrupted by one serious round of it.
Same goes for ACA and most of my family members, who are, remember, overall a pretty healthy lot.
I’m talking personally here because this issue quickly becomes about as personal as it gets. I read there’s twenty to thirty million Americans depending on the ACA; even more on Medicare. I’m concerned about them on a policy level, and hope I feel compassion.
But this ACA & Medicare repeal talk –it’s not just “policy.” Not just about “them.”
It’s about “us.” Me. It will affect me & my family.
My not particularly unusual family.
Directly, and bigtime; not someday, but immediately, and probably catastrophically.
So the drive for repeal is toying with the fate of real people with real lives. All over the country.
Including me and my family. (And maybe yours too?)
The impact of any such repeal will be coming right at us. Directly.
And we’ll remember.
I hope some folks in Washington keep this in mind as they prepare to destroy what keeps me, and us, going now. I’ve tried to let them know. The lines seem pretty jammed.
In light of recent events, permit me to share a photograph or two.
Selma, Alabama, March 1965. I stood on the church steps behind John Lewis, Hosea Williams & Andrew Young.
Then John & Hosea marched over the Pettus Bridge & were beaten & teargassed; John got his head busted, was almost killed. I got off easy.
John Lewis got up from his hospital bed and helped win voting rights for millions of Americans. He’s still fighting for those voting rights, which those who scoff & tweet are busy undermining.
And on that day, when hundreds including John & Hosea walked their talk through Selma, across the Pettus Bridge into the teeth of hate, where was the fool with the little hands who now says John Lewis was “all talk”?
He has said he was avoiding the draft & STDs. Is there any reason to doubt him?
Northwest Yearly Meeting is notorious for its institutional culture of secrecy; indeed, I think they could teach the CIA some tricks.
So imagine my surprise when a clandestine collective which can be called “Quaki-Leaks” passed along some emails hacked from the listserve for NWYM pastors. There were other posts,but these offer an illuminating glimpse of what goes on behind one of the numerous veils that shroud much (too much, in my view) of NWYM’s proceedings. It is a useful followup to yesterday’s post regarding the ‘Way Forward” ultimatum letter.
The posts dealt with the impending midyear sessions that begin this weekend, and the hot issue of what to do about LGBT-friendly meetings. The samples presented here offer three distinct views of the situation, with some qualifying comments by the NWYM Superintendent. We’ll finish with some brief comments of our own. Continue reading Push & Pushback in the Northwest “Showdown”→
Thinking over the Friday “revelations” about how the big intel agencies (CIA, FBI, NSA) are agreed that Russia hacked the election to favor the President-elect (Or P-E), I’m recalling that African proverb about how when elephants fight, it’s the grass & the mice that get trampled.
And I’m taking a mouse-eyed view of what just happened.
Here’s how I think it looks from there: those with eyes to see witnessed an opening round in what could be a death struggle between the Deep State and the Dupe State.
“Deep State” is a term borrowed from Turkish politics. It was applied to the American body politic by Mike Lofgren, a longtime congressional staffer, in his book, The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government. (A good summary is here. )
Judith Dancy from Facebook:
It may have happened while Emma was sleeping so soundly last night, for surely she would have sounded the alarm as the Abyss, with its tank loaded with the fuel of Despair crept through the crack under the front door… the one I keep meaning to put another rubber strip on to keep out the cold wind. I’ve been meaning to do that for years, and now I wish it were only cold wind that crept through.
It’s not that it’s a gray and rainy day. It’s not the death of another precious friend. It’s not the pain that seems unwilling to leave. It’s a sensation I don’t remember ever experiencing ,even in the midst of long periods of deep depression.
I want to apologize, I think, for not recognizing the death of hope. Here I’ve been reassuring you that this is just a birthing process and that something beautiful will be born…not soon enough for some of us, but good will come of what seems like no-good. I’m pretty sure that is not true.
[NOTE: Originally posted on November 26, 2016; disappeared from the web for five days. Background on this disruption is here. The post has been slightly updated.]
Buried in an October report by local North Dakota investigators was the disclosure that: “TigerSwan Security” is in charge of the DAPL [Dakota Access Pipeline] Intelligence and overall supervisor of the other security companies” involved with the corporations that were in the long, often violent standoff with the native Americans at Standing Rock.
Who is TigerSwan? And what does its presence at Standing Rock portend for the new post-election era Americans are about to enter?
This is an overdue update on my Vanished TigerSwan post: While everyone is rightly celebrating the current success at Standing Rock, I have an obscure (but not irrelevant) footnote to fit in somewhere:
Late on Saturday, November 26, I published a blog post about TigerSwan, the mercenary “security” company started and run by ex-special forces “operators” that was overseeing the DAPL security efforts at Standing Rock. Two days later, the post disappeared, along with my entire blog.
The missing post filled in information about TigerSwan, its origins among veterans of the most secretive U.S. military units, with some context about these programs and their training programs in North Carolina. Among the “Solutions to Uncertainty” TigerSwan offers is the capability of spying on cell phones, apps, social media, and more.