Out of the pool

Once again, our friend Keith has been thinking and come up with some ideas that I think have a great deal of merit. Granted, they will likely never see the light of day, but … I surely wish they would. Heck, I’m all for starting a campaign to elect Keith Wilson as the next president of the United States! All in favour? Thank you, Keith, for some excellent thoughts.

musingsofanoldfart

I think it is time to fire any politician in Washington who is forgetting why they are there. We could start with the White House incumbent and then take out hundreds of members of Congress in both Houses. I understand fully Congress must investigate and provide oversight over the Executive Branch. That is part of their job and the current incumbent has given them cause to dig further.

Yet, I have this simple idea that leaders of both houses sit down with legislative liaisons from the White House and figure out some things they can pass and sign into law. I think a civilian board could list about a dozen major issues to focus on and say work these out. It should not take a civilian board, but these folks are too beholden to funders to come up with a workable list.

A key reason for not listing the problems…

View original post 770 more words

‘Toons

I think it’s about time we found some humour in all the muck going on in this country today, don’t you?  Three things are big news this week:  ACA, also known as Obamacare, and the republican’s urge to ensure that some 20 million people will have no access to health care; Jussie Smollett’s sudden and mysterious exoneration; and of course the Mueller report, Barr’s slowness in releasing the entire report, and Trump’s false claim that he was cleared of any wrongdoing.  Let’s see what the talented cartoonists have done with these …

First, the Smollett case …

Escaping chargessmollettsmollet-3amollett-2

ACA?  Obamacare?  Trumpcare?

aca-1aca-2aca-3aca-4aca-5

And of course the biggest news of the day spawns the most ‘toons …

barr-1barr-2barr-3barr-4barr-5barr-6barr-7barr-8barr-9barr-10barr-12

And a few random ‘toons …

boeingBruce Plante Cartoon: A Betsy DeVos SpecialMike-LeeSelf-regulationtrump-1trump-2

Just Two Snarky Snippets …

Wouldn’t you think we could have just one day where I am not stomping my feet and growling like an angry leopard?  Noooooo … that’s too much to ask, isn’t it?  Sigh.  Hold onto your hats, folks, for I’m on a tear tonight!


Still more evidence that …

The only people who matter in the current administration are those who love Trump … a distinct minority, yet a loud, obnoxious one.  The evidence of this lies in the debate in the Oval Office on Monday whereby Trump’s staff convinced him to support a decision to eliminate healthcare for no less than 20 million people in this nation. health-care-1As most of you know, a lawsuit filed by 18 state’s attorney-generals and 2 governors came before Texas District Court Judge Reed O’Connor last year.  The judge was tasked with determining whether the ACA individual mandate that requires everyone to have health insurance was lawful.  However, Judge O’Connor took it a step further and declared the entire Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional.  Appeals, of course were immediately filed.  At that time, the Department of Justice, while supporting overturning the individual mandate, did not support overturning ACA in its entirety.  Then came Monday.

On Monday, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Domestic Chief of Policy (whatever the heck that is) Joe Grogan convinced Trump that if he, via the Department of Justice, supported the complete repeal of the act through the courts, his base (a minority) would “love it”.  They told him that the move would be seen as ‘fulfilling a campaign promise’ and that it would help secure his re-election next year.  Thus, even though Attorney General William Barr expressed concerns about the move, it was announced later that day that the U.S. Department of Justice will support the move to have ACA declared unconstitutional and thereby sign death warrants for some 20 million people or more.Trump-health-careAlthough Trump has claimed he would make republicans “the party of health care”, there is no plan on the republican side of the aisle with which to replace ACA.  Just … do away with it … let poor people die … who needs ‘em anyway?

Even Mike Pence argued against the move, not because he cares a whit about we common people, but because he felt it might have political ramifications down the line.  You think?  Under ordinary circumstances, I would say that in making this move, Trump just signed away his re-election, but we have not had normal circumstances in this nation since 20 January 2017.  This is just one more in the growing pile of signs that We the People really do not matter.  The only ones who count are the bloomin’ fools who wear red caps and chant “Lock ‘er up!”


A step too far … way too far!

Last night, a friend posted this to my Facebook page …Jerry post

Now, this particular friend sometimes gets a kick out of ruffling my feathers, in a good-natured way, so I thought this might be a … joke?  But no, I looked into it, and steam began coming from my ears, my teeth gnashing, and lightning bolts emitted from my eyes.

The so-called constitutional carry bill would permit anyone age 21 or over, who is not disqualified by federal law due to a felony conviction or other offense from obtaining a weapon, to carry a hidden gun — without obtaining a concealed-carry permit.  Currently, Ohioans can only carry a concealed weapon after obtaining a $67 permit from a county sheriff upon passing a criminal background check and completing eight hours of training by a certified instructor, including two hours of range time and live-fire training.  The legislation would not be restricted to handguns — it also would allow Ohioans to conceal and carry long guns, such as rifles and shotguns (though I’m not sure how one conceals a long gun … seems it would be a might noticeable sticking out of their waistband). Ohioans already are allowed to openly carry firearms without a permit.  The bill also would repeal a current requirement that concealed-carry owners notify police officers they are carrying a gun when stopped.  The police are going to love this one, yes?

Do any of these fools remember Parkland in February 2018?  Do they remember Las Vegas?  Do they remember their own damn names?  Fools.  Idiots.  Then, while I was still frothing at the mouth, the same friend informs me that Kentucky just passed a similar law.  Back to searching … yep …

rednecks-1

Bright looking bunch, eh?

From the March 28th Cincinnati Enquirer …

“Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin just signed a law allowing residents to carry a concealed gun without a permit and the prerequisite training.”

And then … I find out that this is not a new thing, not an anomaly, but that there are sixteen … yes, SIXTEEN states where residents can carry guns with no permit, no training, and in some cases, no background checks.

Those states are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

rednecks-2

More ‘Einsteins’

The law is called “Constitutional Carry” because it reflects the view that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not abide restrictions on gun rights, including the right to carry or “bear” arms.  This is utterly ludicrous.  This is the absolute stupidest thing I have heard of!

But back to the proposed Ohio law …

At least one Ohio legislator, David Leland, had a bit of sense (hint:  he’s a democrat)

“It’s going the exact opposite direction of what most people want. If more guns make more people safer, we would be the safest country in the world. Yet, our gun violence exceeds most every other country on this planet.”

Correction, Mr. Leland … not ‘most’ every other country on the planet … EVERY other country on the planet!

Chris Dorr, director of Ohio Gun Owners, sent an email to supporters …

“We already know there will be efforts by anti-gun Democrats and Rino-Republicans to block, stop and KILL Constitutional Carry. And as we saw last General Assembly, there’s always a lily-white coward willing to cut a deal and water down these pro-gun bills.”

Scumbucket.

2nd amendmentIt appears that the only thing that is going to wake these people up is if next time it’s their own child who is killed in a school shooting, or a drive-by.


nightmareAnd that’s it for tonight, folks … I must stop the steam coming from my ears, brush what I haven’t gnashed away of my teeth and go to bed for another fun night of night terrors.  Gee, I can’t imagine what’s causing them, can you?

 

On Promises …

What is a promise and how important is it?  I rarely make promises … never, unless I am reasonably certain that, barring any unforeseen catastrophic event, I will be able to keep that promise.  Because I live by this standard, my family & friends know that a promise from me has value, is not an empty promise.  A promise, to me, is a symbol of my honour, of my word.  To break a promise is a breach of trust, and trust is important to me.  I find that trust is one of those things that has a very tenuous thread, and once broken, is never fully restored.

With that said, however, promises ought to be right and just.  If I promise Miss Goose that from now on, every meal will consist only of sweet treats, it is a foolish promise, I am a fool for making it, and she is the bigger fool for believing it.  It would be a promise to harm her, as it were, to make her less healthy.  It is what I think of as a negative promise, one that does harm … in other words, a threat.

On the campaign trail from June 2015 to present, Donald Trump made a number of promises to his Kool-Aid-drinking minions.  He promised to build a wall to keep out immigrants on the southern U.S.-Mexican border.  He promised immigration reform and to keep out Muslims.  He promised to undo basically everything that President Obama had done – good, bad or neutral.  He promised to undo the non-existent “war on coal” and bring back jobs in the coal mining industry.  Let’s take a closer look at a couple of Trump’s more egregious promises, or threats, as it were, see where they stand and assess whether they have helped or harmed the nation.

One of the first ones that comes to my mind is his ‘promise’ to repeal ACA, commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare’.  I’d just like to point out that little word ‘care’ in there.  Well, Trump was unsuccessful, thanks to Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins.  However, he has chinked away at ACA by way of executive order, to the point that by the end of this year, there will be several million people without insurance, without access to affordable health care — people who were covered before Trump took office.  The latest assault on ACA came just two days ago, when Trump ordered the halting of billions of dollars of payments designed to help insurers meet the Affordable Care Act requirement that they provide coverage regardless of whether a person is healthy or sick.

Insurers say this move will result in higher premiums for millions of people.  For most of those millions of people, higher premiums mean they will have no choice but to drop their insurance.  It will also lead to insurance companies refusing customers who have pre-existing conditions, else setting the premiums out of reach to such individuals.  Why?  Because Donald Trump made a promise to his base.  Now, never mind that his base will be negatively affected by his keeping of this particular promise as much as any of us.  Frankly, sorry folks, I don’t want to sound cruel, but I will choke on my coffee as I laugh uproariously when I hear the first republican whine and wheedle about not being able to afford her medicine, or having to pay $300 just to see her primary care physician!  ‘Welcome to my world’, I will say!

Let’s talk taxes, shall we?

Trump made a number of tax-related promise/threats.  The first was that he would cut corporate income taxes from 35% to 15%.  Well, he failed in that promise and was only able to cut them down to 21% … do I hear an “awwwwww”?  Another part of his illustrious tax plan was to allow Americans to deduct child care and elder care from their taxes.  Well, folks, sorry to tell you but that one went by the wayside.  Along the same lines, he promised to create tax-free dependent care savings accounts for young and elderly dependents.  Nope, not even on the docket.  Oh … here’s one … he promised to provide matching contributions for low-income families to the dependent care savings accounts!  Nope, not a snowball’s chance in hell.  But what about the one where he promised to incentivize employers to provide on-site child-care services?  Sorry, sucker!  But hey!  Those big corporations got their 14% tax cut, and you know that since they have such big hearts and good intentions, all of that lovely money will ‘trickle down’ to us little folk, right? evil laughBriefly, a few of his other “promises”.  He promised to …

  • Enact new ethics reforms to reduce the corrupting influence of special interests. Um … ethics schmethics.  He has, among his administration, some of the most corrupt individuals in the history of the U.S.  Think Scott Pruitt.  Jared Kushner.  Ivanka Trump. Trump himself.  And the list goes on … and on …
  • Make two- and four-year college more affordable. Trump’s budget contains deep cuts in aid for low-income and first-generation college students. The budget would eliminate the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, a 50-year-old program, for a savings of $732 million, which goes to more than a million poor college kids each year. The budget would also reduce Federal Work Study “significantly” though no dollar figure was given. The tax bill that Trump signed raised taxes on four-year universities. How is any of this making college more affordable???
  • Establish tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free. Well, he established tariffs alright, but the results are the exact opposite of what he promised.  Companies are already beginning to lay off workers, and considering moving operations overseas – think Harley Davidson for starters.

For a more complete list, check out the Trump Promise Tracker in The Washington Post  .  Although it isn’t quite up to date (April 2018) it is the best I’ve found so far.

In short, Trump made some 60+ ‘promises’ to the people of this nation. A handful would have been to the benefit of the people, but those he did not even attempt to keep.  The rest were threats.  The threat to take away healthcare from those of us who are not wealthy.  The threat to decrease corporate taxes, thereby decreasing the nation’s revenue, increasing both debt and deficit, and leaving the rest of us without much needed services that can no longer be funded.  The threat to put “America First”, which has isolated us from our allies, put us in danger of a trade war, and proven to the world that we cannot be trusted to keep our word (Paris Accord, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership, etc.).

Promises should be kept.  Unless they are the wrong thing, made for all the wrong reasons, but then they are not promises, they are threats.  Trust is earned.  Loyalty is earned.  Need I say more?

All Before Noon!!!

Little Donnie Dark apparently got up on the very wrong side of the bed this morning, for already as of this writing (it is now noon where I live) he has made three horrendous decisions.  Would somebody please tie this ‘man’s hands?

U.S. Withdraws From UNESCO, The U.N.’s Cultural Organization, Citing Anti-Israel Bias

The United States plans to withdraw from UNESCO, citing financial reasons, as well as what it said was an anti-Israel bias at the U.N.’s educational, cultural and science organization. –  October 12 at 10:40 AM

UNESCO was established after World War II to help promote global cooperation around the flow of ideas, culture and information. UNESCO’s mission includes programs to improve access to education, preserve cultural heritage, improve gender equality and promote scientific advances and freedom of expression.

This would not be the first time the U.S. withdrew from UNESCO.  We did so in 1984, under President Reagan when he felt there was pro-Soviet sentiment in the organization. Though most people will shrug their shoulders about this move, it is yet another sign that Trump places no value on international cooperation, human rights and global cohesion.  It is another step toward U.S. isolationism.


Trump Threatens To Abandon Puerto Rico Recovery Effort

Trump served notice Thursday that he may pull back federal relief workers from Puerto Rico, effectively threatening to abandon the U.S. territory amid a staggering humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Trump on Thursday sought to shame the territory for its own plight. He tweeted, “Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes.” And he quoted Sharyl Attkisson, a television journalist, as saying, “Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.”

He also wrote: “We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” –  October 12 at 11:00 AM

Just last week, Pence visited Puerto Rico and promised that the U.S. would be with them “every step of the way”.  The people who live on the island of Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens.  How on earth can anybody with a conscience simply abandon them?  The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote later today on a $36.5 billion disaster aid package that includes provisions to avert a potential cash crisis in Puerto Rico prompted by Hurricane Maria. If it passes, will Trump even sign it? Would Trump similarly abandon the people of Texas and Florida who are also struggling to recover from hurricanes Harvey and Irma?


Foiled in Congress, Trump Signs Order to Undermine Obamacare

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday that clears the way for potentially sweeping changes in health insurance, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers than those mandated under the Affordable Care Act.

“With these actions,” Mr. Trump said Thursday, “we are moving toward lower costs and more options in the health care market, and taking crucial steps toward saving the American people from the nightmare of Obamacare.”

“This is going to be something that millions and millions of people will be signing up for,” the president predicted, “and they’re going to be very happy. This will be great health care.”

But most of the changes will not come until federal agencies adopt regulations, after an opportunity for public comments — a process that could take months. – 

Apparently Trump thinks that if Congress won’t legislate his agenda, he can simply bypass them and write his own law.  Trump has decided that he will repeal ACA all by himself.  Fortunately, as stated in the last paragraph of the above excerpt, it is not that simple.

executive orderLook at the above picture … every single one of those people applauding Trump’s signing of the executive order to undermine the health of the citizens of our nation … every single one of them has excellent health insurance, a portion of which We The People pay for.  Think on that one for a minute.


These three decisions before noon today make me wonder what else he plans to destroy by the end of the day.  With the exception of his threats to Puerto Rico, the actions have been in the works for some time, and I realize that he did not just hop out of bed this morning and write executive orders.  But it sure seems like he is on a mission to first isolate our nation, and then destroy it from within.  If he cannot achieve ‘legislative wins’, then he will take matters into his own hands.  Excuse me, but this is not how a democracy works!

Idiot of the Week — Senator Charles (Chuck) Grassley

Idiot of the Week medalSenator Chuck Grassley, a republican from Iowa, is one of the best arguments I can give for congressional term limits.  Grassley has been in the Senate since 1981 … 36 years!  He also served three terms (6 years) in the House of Representatives before that. And on that note, allow me to introduce you to this week’s winner of Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award!

Grassley-1I will jump right to what put Mr. Grassley on my radar tonight, and then tell you the rest of the story.  This headline caused my jaw to drop:

GOP Senator Says It Doesn’t Matter How Bad The Latest Obamacare Replacement Is – He’s Voting For It

Wonder why?  I shall let the not-so-good senator tell you in his own words:

“I could maybe give you 10 reasons why this bill shouldn’t be considered. But Republicans campaigned on this so often that you have a responsibility to carry out what you said in the campaign. That’s pretty much as much of a reason as the substance of the bill.”

There you have it, folks.  If you doubted me before when I told you that there is zero consideration for what is in the best interest of the majority of the people in this country, it can no longer be denied or sugar-coated by the republicans.  Mr. Grassley plain as day states that it isn’t a matter of whether the bill will help people or not, it is a matter of the GOP doing what they said they would do … repeal ACA.

Now, I was curious, so I took a look at where Mr. Grassley’s last campaign contributions came from.  I was not able to find the itemized listing for his 2016 campaign (time constraints) but as of his 2010 campaign, here were his major contributors:

  • Health professionals – $1 million
  • Insurance industry – $997,674
  • Pharmaceuticals/health products – $538,680
  • Lawyers/law firms – $625,543

His largest corporate donors have been Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, Amgen biotech company and Wells Fargo bank. I leave you to draw your own conclusions as you will.

His willingness to vote for a bill that, by his own admission, is not in the best interest of the people he represents would almost be enough, in and of itself, to qualify the man for Idiot of the Week, but wait … there is so much more to love hate about this man.

In February 2017, Grassley said that while Russian interference in U.S. elections was “bothersome”, the United States did not have clean hands and had, for instance, interfered with the 1948 Italian election.  1948???  Sixty-nine years ago???  And that justifies …. What …. How … ???

After President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Grassley advised people suspicious of the Trump administration to “Suck it up and move on.”

Last year, after Donald Trump’s assertion that U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel is incapable of being impartial due to his ethnic heritage, Grassley refused to condemn Trump for the remark, while other senators on both sides of the aisle, condemned Trump’s rhetoric as inappropriate and racist.  That earned him the following comment by the Des Moines Register:

“As Edmund Burke said, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. And when it comes to Donald Trump, there are invertebrates that have shown more spine than Sen. Charles Grassley.”

That is the 2nd time this year I have had occasion to applaud the Register!  Good work, Editors!!!

Grassley is, like Trump, a fan of Twitter, and also like Trump, he is often … shall we say, confusing.  Here are a few examples from 2012 (no corrections have been made):

  • “Constituents askd why i am not outraged at PresO attack on supreme court independence. Bcause Am ppl r not stupid as this x prof of con law”

  • “P”

  • “When is PresO going to start running agsf DoNothing Democrat Senate i e no budget for 1060 days. No nrgBill Far fewer bills and votes”

  • “I now h v an iphone”

  • “Contraceptives&totalitarian mindset of Pres O; ‘oh we would never do that’ then they do it. Just shred the 1stAmendment”

  • “Evrybody asking how Romney ‘relates’to avg person Me thinks‘no problem’ but if so I hv answer ‘just lv starch out of shirt’”

  • “Pres O in radio adres complaind of Congress obstuction. Has he evr spoken to his leader Sen Reid abt hv Senate actually work&work”

  • “History. No history. Axe man Timber Nothing historical. Back to FOX. Sigh. Suggest name to change channel name”

Above tweets courtesy of Tim Mak, Politico, 09 April 2012 

Covfefe anyone?

Grassley-3Senator Grassley is, since January 2015, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a position for which he is ill-qualified, given that he has no law degree and has never even been to law school.  He has proven his un-fitness more than once.

He rejected calls for restoring the Voting Rights Act by saying, “If you want to fix more minorities voting, more minorities are already voting.”

Grassley-2In 2016, when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the seat on the Supreme Court vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, Grassley took the lead in calling for a blockade against confirming Garland … for no other reason than that he did not much like President Obama, as you may have surmised from his tweets. This, despite the fact that in 2006 he is quoted as saying, “A Supreme Court nomination is not a forum to fight any election. It is the time to perform one of our most important constitutional duties and decide whether a nominee is qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court.”

I could go on, but … well, you get the picture.  As I began this post, I repeat … Senator Charles (Chuck) Grassley almost single-handedly makes the case for the need for congressional term limits.  This man has long since outlived his usefulness in Congress and needs to GO!  Only problem is, he was just re-elected last year, so barring something unforeseen, he will keep his seat until 2023.

Grassley-4And so to conclude … Senator Grassley, for slapping the American people in the face with your vote for the abominable Graham-Cassidy “health care” bill, and other prior acts of idiocy, you have earned this most prestigious award and I hope you will accept it in the spirit in which it is intended! Please be sure to dust it weekly and enjoy it in good health.

What’s Behind The Smokescreen???

Smokescreen:  a cloud of smoke created to conceal military operations; a ruse designed to disguise someone’s real intentions or activities.

Smoke and Mirrors … Trump’s most recent rude & crude tweets appear to have taken over the internet, airwaves, and every other communication venue.  I will address those in a later post, as I, too, have much to say about them, however … those tweets are NOT the most important news of the day.  In my last post, I informed you that your voting history is about to be made public information by the Trump administration, and now I have more news …

smokescreenAll week long, the big news has been the Senate’s so-called ‘health care’ bill, written by America’s #1 Obstructionist, Senator Mitch McConnell, with the assistance of only a handful of other senators. The bill, once revealed, showed that the Senate bill was just as egregious as was the House bill that passed the House in May.  In the Senate, however, it requires only three (3) republican senators to vote ‘nay’ and the bill is dead in the water.  As the week progressed, it became clear that the republicans would not have the votes to pass this abomination of a bill that would cost every single lower-to-middle class person in the country.  So, the vote was delayed, much to the chagrin of McConnell & Trump.

So what next?  Well, Congress is now on its week-long July 4th break, but Trumpty-Dumpty has a brilliant idea!  “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!”  Excuse me?  Take away healthcare from some 20 million U.S. citizens and give nothing but a vague … “one of these days we might give you something”?  I leave it to your imagination what words initially came from these fingertips, words that I have since replaced with nicer ones. (I may have to have a new computer soon, as I have beaten this poor little Dell to death in the past 5 months!)

Congress is officially on break as of the close of Friday, and the Senate will return on Monday, 10 July for three weeks before taking a month-long break in August.  Must be nice, eh?

To legislate Trump’s ‘repeal, no replace’ plan would cause anywhere between 20 million and 32 million people to suddenly be cut off from affordable healthcare.  Trump and certain members of Congress claim that this is what their supporters want, that they ran on a platform of repealing ACA and that is what they must do, whether or not they can come up with a viable alternative.  I cry FOUL! Though not a Trump voter nor supporter, I am a voter, I am a citizen of this nation, and my voice counts just as much as does any single Trump supporter. And my voice says I do not wish to see one single person lose their medical insurance, have to pay higher premiums, or see a reduction in benefits.

The idea was apparently the brain-child of Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, and is also supported by Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska.  However, health industry officials are warning that overturning the existing law, which has extended insurance to roughly 20 million Americans and changed the rules under which insurance is offered across the country, would create chaos in a sector that accounts for one-sixth of the U.S. economy. The Kaiser Family Foundation polled this very approach back in March, and found only 19 percent of Americans favored repealing Obamacare first and then working to replace it. A 51% majority of Americans say they do not want ACA repealed at all, but simply prefer to work through the problems.

ACA  chart.pngOne theory is that repealing ACA now would force Democratic senators to work more closely with Republicans to craft a viable bill.  The fallacy in that, of course, is that the Republicans have made it clear they are gearing any health care bill toward the wealthy and to hell with the rest of us, and I cannot imagine that Democrats are going to compromise their values for that.  Even some of the high-ranking Republicans who have been working on the legislation rejected it as impractical, making it doubtful that they could even obtain the 51 votes required to repeal without replacing.

A group of Senate Republicans suggested Friday that McConnell should scale back or cancel the chamber’s month-long August recess, given the lack of progress they have made on not just health care but a tax-code overhaul, spending bills, the debt ceiling and a budget resolution. Personally, though I think a month-long recess is excessive, I would just as soon they stay on break throughout August and give us a break from their shenanigans.  Perhaps if they get a nice, long rest, they will be able to actually engage their brains and get something right in September.  Meanwhile, we must all hope that Trump doesn’t get a notion to repeal ACA on his own via ‘executive order’!!!

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

obama-2

Dear President Obama,

There is less than a week left until you pass the torch to your successor.  I can only imagine the mixed feelings you must have at this juncture.  I write this letter because I wanted to take a moment to let you know that I, for one, greatly appreciate all that you have done for this nation.  You have accomplished much in your eight years in office, especially considering that throughout your tenure, you have had very little cooperation from the people in Congress or the American public as a whole.

January 20th, 2009 … a date I remember well.  I watched the inauguration with tears of joy!  Finally, I thought, the nation has put aside its collective racist mentality and made a stand for equality.  Your inauguration was one of the most-observed events ever by the global audience, and I was so proud of our nation on that day.  My tears were tears of joy until the news came that Senator Ted Kennedy had suffered a seizure and collapsed during the inaugural luncheon.  He would die a short seven months later, but I believe one of the proudest moments of his life was being at your inauguration.

Arguably your greatest achievement domestically was the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which helped some 20 million people have access to basic healthcare.  Despite the complaints of some, there can be no doubt that this was a great accomplishment by almost any standards.

As noted, you took office during a particularly difficult time economically, and during your eight years, you have added 10.7 million jobs and lowered the unemployment rate to under 5%!

You have done much to make not only the United States, but the entire globe a healthier place with a brighter future in terms of the environment.  Though our nation seems to have more than our share of naysayers, scientists have proven that the environment is in danger and that mankind has contributed to that danger.  You believed, and you took steps to help our nation be part of the solution.

I remember the sudden chill, then tears when, on the night of 02 May 2011, my friend Jerry called and told me to turn on the television immediately, and I heard you speak these words:

“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”

Your quiet perseverance made the world a little bit safer that night, and I wished then that I could hug you and say “thank you, Mr. President”.

Throughout your tenure you have been a champion for many of the causes I strongly believe in:  LGBT rights, voting rights, women’s equality, environmental reform, land and wildlife preservation, immigration and immigrants’ rights, gun regulation, affordable healthcare for all, and much more too numerous to list here.  But the respect that I have for you goes deeper than policies and political actions … it is about the core values you and your family have brought to the White House and thus to our nation.

You and Michelle have brought dignity and grace to the highest office in the nation, a dignity that has been lacking for many decades.  There has been no breath of scandal, no illicit affairs or inappropriate behaviour.  You have successfully kept your children out of the limelight and allowed them to grow into the young women they are becoming.  I have so often smiled or laughed watching you and Michelle interact, whether dancing together or merely sharing a moment, a bit of conversation.  Michelle has been exactly what a First Lady should be … passionate about family issues, women’s rights, and yet quietly dignified and always a lady of grace.  You have been soft-spoken, compassionate, and a beacon of hope for so many of us.

Perhaps Chicago Tribune reporter Rex Hoppke said it best: “President Barack Obama is a good and decent man.”  You are, indeed, a good and decent man. You and Michelle are both role models I would be happy to see my grandchildren follow.  I will be deeply saddened … am deeply saddened … to see you leave the White House.  I think it will be many decades before we see a return to the values you have brought to the nation, if ever.  As you return to private life, I wish you and Michelle, Malia and Sasha, the very best that life has to offer. I hope that you can find peace, and take pride in knowing that what you gave this nation was appreciated by the often-silent majority, if not the more vocal minority.  Today, the United States of America is a better place because of the values, hard work, ethics, intelligence, and respect you gave us.  Thank you, Mr. President.

 

Sincerely,

Jill E. Dennison

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