GOP Healthcare Plan: Burning Down the House

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‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  -Mark 12:31

With this week's non-vote on the Senate's "Trumpcare" bill, one would think the GOP had learned it's lesson that, despite dissatisfaction with portions of the Affordable Care Act, Americans are vehemently opposed to having their healthcare stripped away to give more tax cuts to the wealthy.

When the equally awful House bill was first rejected in March, Majority Leader Paul Ryan said "We're going to be living with Obamacare for the forseeable future". Well, the unforseeable future sure came fast, and here we are once again in June, looking at another ill-conceived repeal and replacement of Obamacare.By now, it should be clear that the only way to fulfill Pres. Trump's promise of health care coverage for all, with coverage of pre-existing conditions and lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs is by going to a single payer, government managed healthcare system like every other advanced nation.

But whenever the idea of single payer healthcare is floated, conservatives raise a cry of "socialism" and praise the almighty virtues of capitalism. Of course, we've had several forms of socialism in the U.S. for years, including, but not limited to, your local fire department. If free-market purists had their way, if one's house were to catch fire and they couldn't afford to pay the firefighters out-of-pocket, they'd better hope to get out before the flames engulf them.

Again to quote Paul Ryan (arguing against Obamacare): “the young healthy person is going to be made to buy health care and they’re going to pay for the person who gets breast cancer in her 40s or heart disease in their 50s.” The problem with that way of thinking, of course, is that's how ALL insurance works. We pay into it when we don't need it, in the hopes that we never will, but with the comfort of knowing that it's there should misfortune strike.

Even if you don't buy into the notion of healthcare as a inalienable right, most Americans agree that access to health care is a moral issue, and that the U.S. should provide universal health care for all its citizens. Someday, maybe Washington will agree.

Donald Trump's Loose Lips

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The U.S government has always placed a premium on keeping its secrets, and this has extended into its  messaging to civilians as well, though today the emphasis is more on being aware of what we see and hear (If you See Something, Say Something) rather than what we say. But during WWII, wartime posters clearly sent the message that careless blabbing could carry dire consequences.

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Last week's meeting in the Oval Office between Donald Trump and high ranking members of the russian government, in which classified information was allegedly revealed, reminds us that trusting information to someone with "loose lips" could ultimately sink ships and all of us with it.

March for Science- Earth Day 2017

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Earth is the only world, as of this writing, known to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.  ? Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

This Earth Day, April 22, 2017, scientists, those who support their work, and those concerned about our current government's disastrous environmental policies will gather in cities and towns worldwide in a march to bring awareness to the state of our planet and what we're doing to it. I, along with thousands of others, will be marching in downtown Chicago (and doing some sketching).

Here's the March for Science mission statement as presented on their webpage:

The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.

Hope everyone I know will be there and/or lend their support in body or spirit.

Theater of War

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Only the dead have seen the end of war.  ~Plato

Administrations, leaders, and civilizations come and go, and through it all, warfare seems to be the one unavoidable constant that afflicts our world. For all our technological advancements, we as a species still just can't seem to all get along.

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This week, with the horrific chemical weapon attacks by Bashar al-Assad in Syria and the nuclear missle tests by Noth Korean madman Kim Jong-Un, we're reminded yet again how fragile global stability is.

May cooler heads prevail and a saner world lie ahead. Peace.