9 May 2017 Responsibility

Hello to you today from wherever and whenever you are stopping by. Today is going to be an “inside” sort of day I think. For the past two days Kyle and I have been besieged by allergies! It’s been dry, windy, it’s spring and lots of grass cutting going on.  Wanted to mention to my pet people that I found out using a dish washing soap like Dawn is best to remove a topical flea treatment if your dog experiences and adverse reaction like ours have recently.  Regular dog or people shampoo’s won’t get it out.  Our dogs haven’t been doing well with topicals, so we are going to try the internal – not wild about that idea either!  But with how many wild and stray critters we have around here carrying ticks and fleas, we can’t really leave them untreated.   Last year one of the dogs or us actually brought a tick into the bed!

Yesterday was a very nice day for us. We went to one of our favorite local eateries, Taqueria Torres (https://www.facebook.com/Taqueria-Torres-514132938621565/) and as always it was delicious! You can taste love and happiness in every bite – it permeates the place! I think part of the reason we like the people and the place so much is there is such a peaceful and spiritual energy.  They   express their spirituality in their decoration and on one of their message boards in particular was a message that resonated with me from the Bible, James 1:26:

“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (the rest of the passage) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after ophans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

This passage resonated with me and my own struggle with knowing when to speak and when to listen when it comes to matters of the spirit and religion! Sometimes it’s just better to agree to disagree!

Yesterday in the mail, as if to celebrate our special day, a package from my beautiful friend Natalie from the company Pocket Orgonite arrived. She had chosen some pieces that she felt were for me and sent them as a gift. They look a lot like the being in the drawing I did the other day! Pink and blue pyramids! The smallest piece actually helped me get through the allergy attack Kyle and I both suffered after walking to and from lunch! The bracelet is still on my wrist! It’s much like one my friend Cyndy had sent but broke. I am honored and humbled by Natalie’s beautiful work and gesture. I am planning on sending her an example of some of my crafts in reciprocity.

Had a weird dream this morning and this song comes to mind to recall it for you:

Robert Hazard – Escalator Of Life (1982)

What I remember of the dream Paul Ryan was in it and there were a bunch of people on an escalator. It was almost like watching an amusement ride but there too many people being crammed into it. It started to get dangerous and sparks were flying and people were screaming. At the end I remember seeing someone sticking a stick with what looked like, well to be honest, poop on a stick, into someone’s mouth.

What comes to mind is what happens when you try to cram all sorts of different people into one system, “one size fits all”….you get a shit-stick of a deal out of it. That’s what I feel about what’s going on with this Healthcare business. There is “no one-size fits all” answer when it comes to taking care of people – especially in the realm of Healthcare. I feel like what is going on with this repeal/reform is totally missing the mark of what actually needs to be dealt with. The “American Healthcare Escalator” itself – the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical industry and hospitals….ahhh but that is too hard….takes too much time and means admitting responsibility for our current “death spiral” of a program ! The elephant in the room on all of this – the very same party that is trying to “fix” this mess is the same party that did everything within their power to obstruct, sabotage and neuter Obamacare!

http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20170305_Commentary__Obamacare_s_flaws_were_designed_by_Republicans_to_make_it_fail.html

Commentary: GOP’s legal and political sabotage crippled Obamacare

Updated: —March 5, 2017 — 3:01 AM EST

by Abbe R. Gluck

Like a healthy body, a complex federal legislative scheme needs nurturing. Obamacare was starved to death by its legal guardians – the U.S. Congress – the same caretakers who now have the audacity to argue that the law has collapsed of its own weight. That’s like refusing to feed a newborn and then saying it died because it was sick. You can bet that if a Republican replacement bill ever passes, this Congress will give it a lot more care and a chance to actually succeed.

Let’s be clear. Obamacare was not perfect. But how could we expect a federal law so complex, affecting one-fifth of our economy, to be perfect from the get-go? Congress never gave it a chance, or even a tweak, to help it work. The amount of legal and political sabotage incessantly directed at the Affordable Care Act appears to be unprecedented in modern American history.

Political opponents filed a lawsuit the very day the statute was enacted, arguing that the insurance purchase requirement – which President Barack Obama modeled on Republican Gov. Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health reform – was unconstitutional. Republicans then turned the state-based implementation of the statute into a political football, proclaiming that any governor who implemented a state exchange or expanded Medicaid was a traitor; never mind that the idea of resting the exchanges in the states in the first place came from Senate conservatives (or that nearly a dozen Republican governors eventually had the courage to say that the Medicaid expansion was in their states’ best interests and did it anyway).

When the Supreme Court, in 2012, refused to strike the statute down, the opponents didn’t stop there. The charge to their allies, which came from a high-profile 2010 meeting at the American Enterprise Institute, was to adopt a strategy designed to “exploit” “bits and pieces” of the law, calling it a “bastard [that] has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene.” That birthed the second Supreme Court case, one that attempted to take advantage of four sloppily drafted words in the 2,000-page law to argue – impossibly – that Congress never intended for the subsidies essential for all the ACA’s insurance reforms function to apply to the federal insurance exchanges. The Supreme Court quashed that suit too, in a definitive 6-3 smack-down, but not before the uncertainty caused by the suit prevented a smooth implementation.

The opponents didn’t stop there. Next, they took aim at the “three R’s” – the provisions of the statute on risk adjustment, reinsurance, and risk corridors. Simplified, those crucial provisions gave transitional financial relief to the insurance industry to stabilize the market and insurance premiums as the ACA began implementation. Congress never gave these a chance either. Instead, in 2013 it let Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) brand them an insurance “bailout” and then passed laws preventing the appropriation of some of this critical funding. Never mind that a federal court has now held that the government must pay the contractually obligated amount regardless, Rubio’s law notwithstanding. The damage was done.

What’s more, the House then brought a high-profile lawsuit arguing that another critical part of the ACA’s funding – the “cost sharing subsidies,” payments to insurers so they can charge individuals lower premiums – had not been properly appropriated. And that’s not even to mention countless other suits aimed to chip away at the statute, from challenges to its birth-control provisions, to its legislative process, to its implementation of the employer insurance mandate.

As noted, the statute wasn’t perfect. The insurance subsidy amounts were set too low in the law as drafted; a normal, responsible Congress would have stepped in to change that. Obama made his own mistakes, too. For example, many believe that the Department of Health and Human Services’ generous interpretation of the ACA’s grandfathering provisions narrowed the insurance markets in ways that contributed to premium increases.

Even with this strangulation, however, the ACA has had some enormous successes. Not only have 20 million more Americans been given access to health care, but health costs are way down and data on positive health outcomes are starting to come in. Indeed, the best testament to the ACA’s success is the fact that all of the proposed Republican plans keep its basic structure – requiring insurers to cover everyone at roughly equal prices, continuing support for Medicaid, and largely leaving many of the ACA’s less controversial provisions in place.

If there is any great weakness in the ACA, it is its overreliance on the insurance markets as the primary means of expanding health access. That makes the statute extremely vulnerable to the insurance industry and its politics. But that is a Republican preference. It’s a way to keep health care at least somewhat in the private sector, rather than federalizing the entire insurance scheme into a national version of Medicare for all. The part of the ACA that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) claims is “collapsing under its own weight” are these same insurance provisions; and they are collapsing because Congress double-crossed the insurance industry for political gain.

And here’s the kicker. The very first proposed regulation released by the Trump HHS aims to stabilize the very insurance markets that Congress and the ACA’s opponents spent the last seven years trying to undermine. President Trump met with top insurance CEOs last week to continue that effort. And of course, the Trump administration and the House of Representatives have decided to put the House’s cost-sharing-subsidy lawsuit on hold. Because if the House gets what it wants, it will further destabilize the insurance markets – and that no longer seems such a good idea now that a Republican is responsible for the ACA.

Trump has called Obamacare a “disaster” more times than one can count, and recently said, “Dems are to blame for the mess.” Let’s be clear about who is accountable. Considering how much the ACA has accomplished, just think what it could have done had our Republican-controlled Congress bothered to actually support it.

Abbe R. Gluck is professor of law and faculty director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy, Yale Law School.

John Oliver’s latest on yet another hornet’s nest getting sticks poked into it:

Net Neutrality II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

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22 March 2017 Poor air quality (North Texas), “Just Ask”, chalk squiggles and Anthony Chavez: Continuing a Legacy of Inspiration (Daily Good)

Good morning to you.  It’s Wednesday, 9:52 am as I start to write to you.  Hard to believe it’s already the middle of the week!  Hard to believe we are almost to the end of March already too!  If the next four years can go this fast that might be a good thing lol!

So yesterday I spent a little time outside but not too much.  The air quality here has been very poor for us allergy sufferers lately.  We live in an area with cement plants, methane from the many natural gas wells we have around and in town, other industrial operations, lots of traffic, surrounded by states on fire and on top of that Nature is trying to do their thing and that means lots of pollen.  Some days I actually wear a mask but it’s probably not strong enough to strain out everything!  This morning I walked out and nearly got sick it smelled so bad;  I actually felt nauseous.  Either a herd of skunks came through the area or something else.  I can remember when they fracked the natural gas well in the fields behind our house it smelled like that too.  I’m hoping it was just a skunk!  I waited later than normal to walk Spot and Link, but even then my lungs burned and I was coughing when I came in.  We are supposed to get some “weather” towards the end of the week, some of it possibly severe, so may be that will help clear the air for a bit.  Clean air is not something to take for granted.  I feel bad for the people around here who have kids with asthma, older folks with COPD, lung cancer and other respiratory problems.

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/air-pollution/index.cfm – excerpt

“How is air pollution linked to climate change?

While climate change is a global process, it has very local impacts that can profoundly affect communities, not the least of which is air pollution.

Increasing temperatures are directly linked to poor air quality which, in turn, can affect the heart and exacerbate cardiovascular disease.  Examples of this may include a rise in pollen, due to increased plant growth, or a rise in molds, due to severe storms — both of which can worsen allergies and other lung diseases, such as asthma.

Scientists say an increasing rise in ozone levels are also a concern.”

Anyhew.  I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m whining or complaining.  I just like to spend a lot of my time outside and when this kind of stuff is going on I don’t want to be out there.  To me it’s the same sort of feeling someone might have if they couldn’t  go to their church building for whatever reason.  Nature is my church; it’s where I talk to the God of my understanding.  It frustrates me that we have people in our country, people who are positions that involve oversight and or preservation of our air, water, soil and natural resources that don’t seem to appreciate the gift that is this planet like so many of us do.  Because we actually spend time in Nature, we see that there is a plan for every single life on this planet….they are interconnected.  When you remove even a single part of the connection the entire component starts to fall apart.  We are each designed to play a part and this holds true for all lifeforms we share this planet with.

“I will not lose my hope in us and our ability to do not what’s easy, but what is right.  Doing the right thing is seldom easy but it is lasting. It is the stuff of visionaries. “

Kyle’s new word for today as he describes the two of us, we are “reasonaries.”  People who can see through bullshit lol.

Some quotes that resonated:

Compassion is our deepest nature. It arises from our interconnection with all things.
Jack Kornfield

Music is an immediate art; it’s always happening right now
Sam Andrew

One Touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
William Shakespeare – Troilus and Cressida

We’re all just walking each other home.
Ram Dass

http://www.dailygood.org/2017/03/22/anthony-chavez-continuing-a-legacy-of-inspiration/

Anthony Chavez: Continuing a Legacy of Inspiration

Mar 22, 2017— When Cesar Chavez died, 30,000 people showed up to march in his honor. He was the visionary force behind the United Farm Workers union and had led the Farm Workers Movement fighting for civil rights while promoting nonviolence. Anthony Chavez, seven-years-old at the time, knew him simply as –Grandpa. Today Anthony is a leader in his own right, he travels the country speaking on behalf of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, keeping his grandfather’s legacy alive, while advocating for service learning initiatives in the field of education. “I remind students what my grandfather said, ‘We don’t need perfect political systems, what we need is more perfect participation,'” Anthony says. His vibrant journey includes many years serving as travel assistant to Brother David Steindl-Rast, the world-renowned Benedictine monk, author and inter-religious pioneer.