Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Congratulations hospital industry

Less than a week after the bigwigs at the American Hospital Association and AHA and the Federation of American Hospitals praised Biff Tannen’s transition team for its plans to nominate Tom Price (R-Ga.) as Health and Human Services secretary, they might have to explain how they got that
brown stuff on their noses. The AHA is the major trade group for hospitals hiding their enormous cash flows behind their nonprofit status while the FAH represents hospitals hiding their licentious greed behind the term “investor-owned” instead of “for-profit.”

In a joint letter to leaders on both sides of the congressional aisle, these two trade groups voiced concern, if not panic, that killing off the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, would immeasurable hurt hospitals and the entire health care system. These are same consequences this Cassandra-like blogger voiced last month with Price’s announcement. Here is the key point in that Nov. 29 post, “Dismantling those insurance programs — and don’t for a minute call those programs socialized medicine because they are not — will cut off huge cash flows to hospitals, doctors and other providers. Supporting (Biff) Tannen’s and the right-wing agenda will, and there is no other way to put it, folks, bite them on the ass.”

Friday, December 2, 2016

Dishonesty and hypocrisy - the GOP

Dishonesty and hypocrisy. Those two character traits that help define most politicians worldwide. In the United States, dishonesty and hypocrisy know no party line boundaries, although in Texas, it seems to apply almost exclusively to Republicans.

And, as we move to the end of 2016, the horrific year for people whose votes and politics represent kindness and decency, Greg Abbott and the rest of the GOP mobsters have found one more way to support my case for those labels. As the Texas Tribune reported on Nov. 28, Abbott and his right-wing administration, tried to slip through regulations requiring health care providers to cremate or bury fetal remains. The rules would bar disposing those remains as proper medical waste in sanitary landfills. I won’t rehash the pros and cons of the proposal because the state received some 35,000 comments about these rules. And, thankfully, those in our society who wish to protect people’s, and especially women’s, privacy caught the sneak attack and made it public.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A declaration of war

Whether you realize it or not, the Republican Party has declared war on 99 percent of the American
people. In doing so, it has made it clear that the only people in the United States who count for anything are the one percent. The question now is whether those of us with any sense of decency and conscience can fight back; and, if so, how.

Let’s start by trying, briefly, to understand what has happened to get us to this miserable juncture in our nation’s civic life. First, in the 1950s we had the birth of the religious right, just without that label. The movement used the “godless communist” threat to add the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. Second, in the 1960s and 1970s, we saw the beginning of America’s dumbing down. The hippie movement was a resistance to the attempts to kill off critical thinking, but thanks to the propaganda efforts of the Republican Party and the Nixon administration, American students devolved into regurgitators of facts without the ability to use that information productively. Third, the 1980s saw the Republican takeover with the Reagan administration playing the “greed is good” card, undoing the progress from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Concurrently, propagandists extraordinaire like Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh and other hate mongers began the systematic attack on the media. In doing so, they stimulated the pent-up fear and perceived threats of a diverse society in that generation of those whose critical thinking skills had been destroyed.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Ain’t no cure for stupid, is there? Or sedition

 Today’s Facebook newsfeed is peppered with information about Biff Tannen’s nominating Tom Price (R-Ga.) to be Health and Human Services secretary. This nomination comes in the context of Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) promising to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and Medicare

Here’s what’s interesting about this that the mainstream, and the good outlets like ProPublica, haven’t picked up on: The American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack has come out in support of Price’s appointment, with a statement saying Price’s experience as an orthopedic surgeons will be an asset as health care becomes more patient centered. Pollock has spent his entire career as a lobbyist. I don’t suppose he knows the old joke about bone doctors: Strong as a bull and just as smart. And while that’s an unfair generalization for all orthopedists, it must apply to Price since he is a Republican and part of the evil sect set to destroy the health care system as we know it.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Let's flood the fax machines

Those of us who are concerned for the future of our nation much not remain silent. The only way to counter the big money access to members of Congress is by overwhelming the moneyed voices by quantity voices. That’s hard to do because staffers take calls or monitor the social media and email. Letters go through the congressional mail room for screening and that takes months — and, based on my experience with Ted Cruz, John Cornyn and Mac Thornberry, results in nothing but computer-generated form letter replies.

What is telling is that the fax numbers for these people are hard to fine, which I interpret as them wanting it to be hard for constituents to contact them this way. While I have no doubt that the big money people have other, less public, ways to contact them, flooding the fax machines might have a positive effect. And so, as a public service, here are Washington, DC office contact information for those of us in the Texas Panhandle.

Ted Cruz
Dirksen Senate Office Building, Suite SDB-40B, Washington, DC 20510.
Office - (202) 224-5922.
Fax - (202) 228-0755.

John Cornyn
517 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: 202-224-2934

Mac Thornberry
2208 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
T (202) 225-3706
F (202) 225-3486 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Can the Amarillo Globe-News get a simple story right? Uh, no

Once again (and it’s getting tiresome), I am compelled to criticize the Amarillo Globe-News for poor — if not slanted — reporting on the crime situation in the Bivins neighborhood; and, in line with journalistic ethics, I disclose it’s my neighborhood. Since I can’t, and won’t, talk to this reporter or her editor, I am going to leave the question of motivation aside. Further, because I know who the process works, I’ll also note that a reporter can get it right but an editor can ruin the accuracy of a story with ease.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

What is my ministry? A personal note

Today is the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle in the Episcopal Church. As such, St. Andrew’s in Amarillo celebrated with the liturgy and music for the occasion. It’s not unusual that I learn something every time I attend a service at this, my home parish. This time I learned that Andrew was the first Apostle, joining Jesus’ ministry to become, as Matthew’s Gospel version in today’s lectionary quotes Jesus, “Follow me, l make you fish for people.”

Andrew and 11 others decided that it was their ministry to join with this itinerant rabbi in spreading the word of God’s love for all people, including perhaps most importantly, the least of us but certainly, all of us. While a visitor or new parishioner might think that this was the only day we address ministry at St. Andrew’s, it isn’t; it was just the day we looked at the Gospel reading about it. The theme exists every day at St. Andrews, based on what Jo Roberts Craig, our retired rector (priest in charge), said when asking people to help out, “If it is your ministry ….”