Dreaming of Ryan; Praying for PR

When House Speaker Paul Ryan starts invading your dream world, perhaps you have tweeted for his attention a little too much.

Yesterday’s were directed at him and anyone else I could think of to light a fire under Trump’s rump to use that Commander in Chief title he is so proud to have to send in military convoys, ships and planes to get food out of the ports and into the hands of the people of Puerto Rico.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto’s desperate pleas for help in her Friday press conference and her subsequent interviews with network and cable journalists broke my heart. I fear for what the death tally due to dehydration and starvation will be as stacks upon stacks of containers with lifesaving water, food and medicines stand in port in need of a delivery system.

I know the military is up to the task.  For the life of me, I cannot understand why a man so eager to nuke a country of 25 million – which would actually make him the villain – isn’t willing to use our full military might to aid Puerto Rico and become a hero instead.

I had hoped to find on my feed a story saying he had heard from the better angels and they had won the battle for his heart and mind for Puerto Rico. Instead, he is disparaging San Juan’s Mayor and accusing the Democrats of playing politics to make him look bad and of the “fake media” once again treating him poorly.

No. You are being treated poorly because you act poorly and without charity toward the suffering, Mr. President.

I have lost track of how long it has been since Maria hit. I just know there are people in the rural areas who – if they cannot find water in uncontaminated streams – are not going to be alive when Trump makes his grand fly-in on Tuesday.  Puerto Rico – I am so sad and so sorry you have been treated this way.

I honestly don’t blame FEMA. Three back to back major storms in a matter of weeks has left them stretched and overwhelmed, I am sure.  But I do blame them for not saying it.  I blame DHS for supporting the President’s delusions that all is well and good.  And I call on the corporations and wealthy making their charitable contributions to continue to do so and help find creative ways to get their donations delivered.

I have tweeted the Joint Chiefs, the Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard, hoping those groups would apply pressure on Trump to let them get in there and help. I have tweeted Congress and Rubio and McCain in particular.

Which brings me back to Paul Ryan. Even though it has been much on my mind, Puerto Rico was not a part of my dream.  It was a crazy patchwork involving my family.  At the end, I wanted to purchase a block of buildings in which my father used to work, but couldn’t find the owner to ask.

As I was leaving in my car, Paul Ryan came running out to tell me that the names of the owners was a private matter and the information cannot be shared with me. I guess that was a metaphor for the all the things the GOP is doing legislatively behind closed doors that they don’t want the average citizen to see because they know it is not in our favor.

As I was driving away, Debra Messing popped up in the back seat of my car and said not to worry, she worked at the bank and would look in their records to get me the information I needed. (I had just watched “Will & Grace” – was she there because of that or because of her dogged opposition to Trump and the GOP?)

My dream ended there.

Unfortunately, the nightmare that Maria has brought to Puerto Rico is really just beginning. And we have a President who is asleep on duty, dreaming about his golf games and the proposed elimination of the estate tax that will leave his family billions richer – if he is indeed as rich as he claims to be.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s Mayor is “weak” to him and evidently its citizens too lazy to figure their own way out of a catastrophic event that has decimated the power grid and the ability of their society to function.

But hey, they are working hard to get that tax return down to the size of a postcard. Maybe in a sop to Puerto Rico they will issue the cards with a scenic picture of the islands beautiful by-gone days.

Because helping them seems to be out of the question.

Waiting Upon the Lord. Still Waiting…

Does what I write make a difference? I want it to.  Not for the benefit of my own ego, but that something I could write might be moving to another person.  I am trying to write and to reach people because I feel that is what the Lord is calling me to do.

But my success rate so far is rather puny. I do better with my mean Tweets.

And frankly, that bothers me; that my snark is more relevant than anything serious I might have to say to my 634 followers on Twitter.

I am not asking people to agree with what I write, or particularly think I am a good writer. Simply to consider what I am saying and examine it for any truths it may contain.

No, I don’t have a publishing deal and a huge PR machine behind my efforts. But never have so many ideas for books of poetry, devotionals and even novels filled my head.  As my past writing has been more reportorial or public relations oriented, that I am having all these ideas now later in my life feels like God is handing me a gift I am called to share with others.

What is puzzling me is that others aren’t wanting to receive it. If it is God’s will, and not my own, shouldn’t I be yielding better efforts?

These were some of the questions I took with me to the local Monastery last night. I was actually going for Confession, but it really became a call for spiritual direction as much as a quest for absolution of past sins that still make me think shame clings to my soul.

The Fr. told me that what I might think God is doing with my writing, and what His plans for it are, may not be the same. Okay.  But I only know the “human view” of how this is supposed to work.  I don’t see what glory my words can bring to Heaven.  He has glory to spare up there.  What could my words mean to angels and saints more accomplished at holiness than I could ever hope to be?

Mine is a little soul, with little aspirations. The books I am writing, I am hoping to use to generate charitable contributions.  That’s why my book of poems on Kindle is only 99 cents.  I want people to donate to the charity I designated or one of their choice if that is their preference.  It should be a voluntary response to something that moves their spirits, not a price paid because of market demand.  I want people to find a call to service in it.

With my blog, I hope to share my thoughts and views. Nothing greater.  But when something is really messed up, like aid to Puerto Rico, I want my outrage to reach as far and wide as it can.  Twelve viewers yesterday was better than the day before, but 12 viewers will not make an impact – unless one of them was Donald Trump.  And he reads only those things that align with his world view and not much else.

Do I have an ego wherein my writing is concerned? Yes, of course.  It has been important to me since I won the essay from the National Honor Society when I was in grade school for an essay entitled “What Is Honesty?”

But despite the fact that I put “award winning journalist and poet” on my blog-and even though I was those things in a minor way – the fact is that I am a failed journalist. I quit, when I didn’t have to do so.  In fact, I had a choice between an editorial position and a PR job with a California utility to choose between.  For economic reasons, as a single parent I chose the latter.  But I have always wondered what would have become of me had I chosen the first.

I don’t know about every other small town journalist, but of course I dreamed of Columbia and one day writing for “The New York Times.” At the time I was a journalist, those were the pinnacles of success.

Or being a war correspondent a la Hemmingway, sending dispatches from places where rockets howled behind me and danger lurked in crowded streets among faces of foreigners whose language and customs I desired to understand and explain to the world so the rockets would perhaps someday not send out their red glare. Journalism is a window to so many facets of the world, and the world is such a large, diverse and interesting place.

So yes, right now patience is an elusive thing for me, although I did find peace in the Monastery chapel, looking up at the Holy Spirit emblazoned in stained glass with Our Lady. Peace in the blue and pink colors cast by a setting sun throughout the leaded stained windows of the vaunted ceilings of this holy place.  Deeply seated hope in the Divine Mercy Chaplet I prayed as my penance and my plaint.

And I will try to be more patient and wait upon the Lord, even if I don’t see the fruits of my labor in my lifetime. Even if they bear no fruit to ever speak of to people who live on long after me.

Because I know I would not be getting ideas I never had before, thinking things I never thought before, if they did not come somehow from the Lord.

My devotional yesterday cautioned me I was not His “employee” and should not treat my service as such.

But He is my Master, and where I feel He leads, I must obey, even if the path is dark and I see little light to place my footsteps. All I can do is trust.  Jesus, I trust in you.


The rains fell down
And the wind howled:

All that was tropical and lush
Disappeared in the maelstrom.

People wandered dazed
Amid the Apocalyptic ruin
Of the lives they had built.

Once fully dimensional,
Now all is flat
Like their eyes, lost of all hope.

Shattered dreams lay
Amid broken glass,
Twisted metal, and memory’s shards.

Hunger and thirst
Twisted like knives
And they looked to the skies

For Manna.

Instead they received
Only harsh words about

Their economic debt,
And unspoken ones
About the color of their skin.

Then came some nonsense about
The size of the ocean
That could swallow them whole

If the dam breaks.

God looked down,
Judged us all harshly,
Then cried in pain:

I made you all
So much better than this.

His shoulders sagged
As He shook His head
And despaired of the creatures He made.

A Psalm for Puerto Rico

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” So begins Psalm 22, also known as “The Prayer of an Innocent Person.”

Those words should sound familiar even to the non-religious among those reading this. Jesus prays them as He hangs from the Cross.

These must be the words the people of Puerto Rico are crying right now. Only the “God” they are crying out to is the government that is supposed to serve it.  It is our own.

“Do not stray far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help,” the Psalmist pleads.

Well, President Trump responds, the ocean is so big. As if that were a reason for what is supposedly the “greatest country on earth” not to make every heroic attempt possible to aid Puerto Rico in its plight.   It is of such little consequence to this administration that Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who flew with Trump to Texas and Florida to see the damage wrought by Harvey and Irma on infrastructure, cannot be bothered to mention it at a Monday appearance with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, according to the Washington Post.

Puerto Rico has no infrastructure left. Its interior has been leveled.

“As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue cleaves to my palate.” Yes, when you are dehydrated, this is exactly how your mouth feels.  I know because on a trip I made to Greece – when I became dehydrated and had to go to hospital for fluids – my mouth had felt like cotton. No matter how much water I drank (thank God I was so fortunate to have it), that feeling would not subside.

According to an article in “Popular Science,” water comprises 65% of our body. It helps the brain to think, the blood to flow, the muscles to move.  When it first kicks in, thirst makes your body try to hold onto fluids.  “You sweat less, your body temperature rises.  Your blood becomes thicker and sluggish.  To maintain oxygen levels, your heart rate increases,” it goes on.  Sending less water to your bladder, your urine becomes darker.

The next stage is fainting (what I did that landed me in that hospital in Athens). The article states that by this time, your blood flow will have become so concentrated your skin will shrivel.  A blood pressure drop could lead to the fainting I experienced.  Because you have stopped sweating, your body becomes overheated, like a car without water in its radiator.

Stage 3 is the beginning of organ failure. The cells of your body have started shrinking.  The brain becomes confused and delirious.  The kidneys shut down in an effort to preserve hydration in your system.  Your arms and legs cramp as the sodium and potassium levels in your body rise as fluid levels go down.  “WND Front Page” quotes Dr. David Stevens, a physician who spent 13 years tending to the dying in Africa, as saying the misery of it becomes so great, the patient tries to cry and cannot.

Abdominal muscles cramp, dry heaving begins as the intestines lose their hydration. The brain shrinks and the headaches that causes are severe. Progressive lethargy kicks in and hallucinations and seizures happen.  Finally, coma sets in as your blood pressure becomes so low as to be undetectable and the heart gives out in a shudder that keeps it from pumping, the “WND Front Page” article continues.

“Contrary to those that try to paint a picture of a gentle process, death by dehydration is a cruel, inhumane and often agonizing death,” Dr. Stevens of the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA) is quoted in the March 24th, 2005 article.

There is a reason they hydrate you in Hospice to keep you comfortable before you are lain “in the dust of death,” as the Psalmist writes.

This is the 7th day since Maria struck Puerto Rico, a territory of the U.S. we acquired in 1898 following the Spanish American Civil War.

The 7th day is the day death from dehydration begins to occur.  God created the world in seven days.  In Puerto Rico, all is destroyed, and the “God” known as our government has seemingly turned its face.  The aid sent so far has been anemic in comparison to the tragedy of the situation.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Have we, indeed, forsaken Puerto Rico? Will we be “proudly hailed” for our response to this question?

I think not.

Operation Agua

“S.O.S” read the chalk mark at the intersection. My Spanish is not good, but I understood that “agua” meant they were asking for water.

Last night’s television reports featuring a Puerto Rican government official told me only 40% of its people had access to drinking water. That is close enough to 50% to tell me that more than half of 3.5 million people (more than 1.25 million) are going without something so vital to our survival we can last only a few days without it.  Maria hit land about 5-6 days ago.

Yes, relief efforts are underway but hampered terribly by the massive destruction. From the statistic reported above, yes some people are receiving the assistance – but the vast majority is not.  I had to learn this – not from U.S. media – but from the “Toronto Star” of all places.  We have a President who loves to use his Twitter feed and White House press briefings five days a week.  They should be feeding us this information.  Instead, the President prefers to fight with the NFL and belittle a “mad man” with missiles.

Someone on my Twitter feed asked why we were not parachuting supplies into hard to reach places. Brilliant idea! I tweeted back and cc:’d President Trump, the White House, Congress, Marco Rubio (who at least has visited the island), our airborne military, water producing companies and the cruise lines that rake in billions from our travel to the Caribbean, along with major news organizations and specific journalists.  It sounds silly, but from the comfort of my own safe, secure home in Georgia, it is my pathetic effort to sound the alarm and offer another woman’s brilliant suggestion.

We did it during WWII. We saved Holland as a result.

According to “History.com,” two air operation drops of food called “Chowhound” and “Manna” were made over Holland in the “dying days of World War II.” More than 125,000 German troops still occupied the Netherlands, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, it is written.

Normal food deliveries had been blocked by the Germans and dykes destroyed in a deliberate effort to destroy Dutch farmlands. The History site says that to avoid starvation, the Dutch ate fried tulips and cut off their hair and boiled it in water to drink the protein from its keratin.  “By 1945, the British military estimated that more than 500,000 residents of occupied Holland were on the brink of death,” the History web site continues.

A relief pledge by President Roosevelt to the Dutch Royal family in March of 1945 was carried out three weeks later in April after his death. This was Operation Manna, which was manned by Australian and Canadians.  On May 1, two days after Hitler’s suicide, Operation Chowhound, our own relief effort, was launched by B-17s, according to History.

A book called “Operation Chowhound” by Stephen Dando-Collins said it was “the most risky” U.S. bomber mission of World War II. Launched before the Germans agreed not to fire upon the planes, crews were flying into unknown war-time conditions, he writes.  At 300-400 feet levels, the bombers were “sitting ducks” if fired upon, he adds.

Still, four days into the mission, the Germans signed a pledge and kept it. For 10 days Allied bombers dropped payloads of bags and boxes filled with chocolate bars, margarine, coffee, milk, powder, salt, cheese and flour.  The Dutch spelled out their gratitude of thanks among the Tulip fields.

There is no vegetation left in Puerto Rico for citizens to tell us what it would mean to them if we were to parachute in payloads of bottled drinking water. But they have chalk.

I am sure they would write “gracias” in the streets.

The Body Parts Trilogy

It has been a long day.  I have spent it almost entirely on housekeeping duties on the computer.  I am too tired and weary to write something new, as I wasn’t feeling that hot to start off with.  So, since healthcare is still in this week’s news, let’s think of our bodies – but in a slightly different context.  Here, another exercise from that writer’s workshop, as entitled above:

The Body Parts Trilogy


The arch of the naked foot

Makes a sensuous curve


The bare innocence of being


She lay

With her head encased by her arm

Atop the pure linen sheet

Her complexion

Shone in the all encompassing whiteness

Then, it drowned her

In its purity

Virgin once again


Why does the stubbing of a toe

Hurt equally as the breaking of the heart?

Separated parts of a self

Assaulted by pain…

Both throb

To have their existence noted

“Imagining the United States”

I just watched the most disquieting movie called “Imagining Argentina.”

It is, well, an “imaginative” screenplay based on the disappearance of some 30,000 citizens by the Argentinian government between 1976 and 1983.

Starring a younger Antonio Banderas and Emma Thompson, he is the director of a children’s theater, while she is a journalist who writes a story about the disappearance of a group of school children following a public protest they put on over busing issues.  Unidentified men pull up in green sedans and spirit Thompson away from her husband and daughter following publication of her story calling on the government to account for the disappearances.  Banderas begins to have strange flashes of vision about the tortures his wife is going through that ends up with his meeting regularly with the mothers of the vanished students to hold their hands and share with them visions of their own children’s individual fates.  Some live.  Some die.  His own wife’s fate he cannot clearly ascertain, despite repeated attempts to track her down based on what his mind sees.

Before the movie ends, Banderas also loses his young daughter and his best friend to further disappearances and death by the government. The movie ends with his wife escaping her captors and their being reunited in the midst of a street carnival that is meant to symbolize a new era in Argentina,  one that is full of music, dancing and laughter.  It is a dawning of a time where the past is forgotten, as if it were all an imagined dream.

Except the credits roll, and there is a list of statistics from Amnesty International detailing many countries around the world and the tens upon tens of thousands of their citizens that have been “disappeared” as well.

And I began to wonder, could it happen here? Could we become a country where our leaders have us “disappear” because they do not like our political speech?  It seems preposterous given the liberties and freedoms granted to us in the Constitution.  Yet – we have a President who is, indeed, trying to make disappear from our television screens and Twitter feeds well-known persons who have spoken in protest against him or other fraught political issues that litter our societal landscape.

I am speaking, of course, of President Trump’s calls for the firing of ESPN’s Jemele Hill, and his call to NFL owners to sack any player who dares to follow Colin Kaepernick’s lead and kneel while the national anthem is played as a sign of social protest.

People are entitled to their opinions about whether or not these well-paid celebrities should just “shut up and stand up” in gratitude for their fame and fortune. It is their right.  Just as it was the free speech rights of Ms. Hill and Mr. Kaepernick to lend voice and bend knee in protest.  It is all called First Amendment protection.

But when the President of the United States chooses to castigate these individuals and call for the loss of their jobs, we are entering the territory of the “disappearance” zone – a head of government abusing the power of his office to make Ms. Hill, Mr. Kaepernick and others who would follow their lead disappear from the public forum because their opinions and actions violate his own limited understanding and he finds them dangerous to his authority.

He has even called for the obliteration of an entire nation of peoples because their leader has chosen to develop military technologies that the United States doesn’t believe it should have. We see it as threatening our security and that of our allies.  The other leader sees it as a move to preserve his own rule and as a “protection” against us.  When we talk about annihilating 25 million human beings, does Kim Jong Un have a point?

After all, we’ve been told he is the “mad man” who plans to do all of us in. We naturally find horror and a desire for self-preservation in that, but –perversely – don’t seem to think he should see it in a similar light when we threaten the same of his country.  Are we not blinded to our own failings of assuring peace only through military might?  The failing that – someday – we will use that might for ignoble ends instead of what we believe is our grand desire to protect democratic ideals, norms, society and governments?

If I should disappear for daring to ask these questions, it will have been in a green sedan, surrounded by men carrying guns. Try not to forget me when its carnival time.


Once I Was Young and Cool

Because I knew I would not have a lot of time today for original content, I am treating you to a poem I wrote several years ago at a writer’s workshop. It is about Jim Morrison.  I had recently re-watched Val Kilmer play him in a movie, and – I don’t know – it just came to me.

This poem and the picture below (my father’s favorite of me taken when I was 19) are my proof that once I really was young and a little bit cool. Happy weekend.


Ode to Jim Morrison

He was wind and fire

While the earth

Swirled azure around him

The Shaman dancing chanted

Words that soared as an eagle into the sky

While drifting from on high

Holy spirits descended upon him

To dance in his wildness

The jack rabbit listened

The coyotes cried

And all was consumed

Dad’s favorite picture 2



Help! My Cat Is Dying

Today started out in hysterics. And not the funny kind.

I thought my cat was dying. She had what I call the “death gait” walk going on.  I had seen it three times before in pets – twice in two of Vera’s poodles (okay, when she came to live with me and brought Cassie with her, Cassie was partly mine and eventually all mine) and in my dearly beloved Miss Priss.  (Miss Priss’s ashes are in a little gold urn by her picture on the TV stand and where I end up going, she goes with me.)

My present day cat, Salem, was walking funny and shaking. She is 16 so I don’t expect to have her forever, but last night she was zipping through the house like a kitten on a catnip tear.  So I was immediately – well, like I said.  Hysterical.

I seem to deal better with people dying than I do pets. When I was little, my parents banned “Lassie” from my TV approved programming because I would cry – hysterically – whenever Lassie got hurt and seemed imperiled.  If you think I am making this up: think again.

It is a wonder my son loves animals as much as he does, because when I look back on it, movies with animals in them were not a staple when he was growing up. We saw many other kinds of kid’s movies and almost every action movie ever made from the mid-80 through mid-90’s – but not animal pictures.  It was me.  I can’t handle them.

So, after giving Salem her tuna juice because she was meowing so loud and I figured if she were dying, at least she would die happy, I called the vet. They asked how long it would take me to get her there.  I told them as fast as I could get my clothes on and brush my teeth and hair.  It was 10 am.  “We’ll see you at 11 then,” the vet tech said.  We walked into the vet office at 10:30 (you’re right, I did not bathe or wash my face.  It’s 4:05 pm and I still haven’t.)

After testing the dilation of her pupils, listening to her heart and lungs, watching her walk and drawing blood for testing, the vet sent me and Salem back to the waiting room. I had stopped crying.  I had passing encounters with two people from Church who came and went with their pets.  We waited.

Salem’s blood work was – absolutely normal. Her cholesterol was a little high but she had just had that tuna juice.  The vet tech went through a bunch of possibilities.  Due to her age (did I say she is 16?), she could be starting some neurological deficit.  Because of her age, it made no sense to run an EEG because there is nothing to be done if so.  It could be her heart.  I could have opted for an EKG and heart X-ray, but even if something was wrong again, given her age, blood pressure medicines might actually do worse harm.  So I opted not for her to have those at this time.  It’s more possible she had a blood sugar drop.  I took the nutritional supplement in gel form they gave me, packed her back into the car after apologizing profusely for my hysterics, drove through McDonald’s for pancakes and came home.

I offered Salem a lick of the nutritional supplement on my finger. She sniffed it, tested it with a dainty lick and then literally trotted off.  She has been perfectly normal the rest of the day.

For any lawyers among you, can I sue my cat for the $265 she cost me and get damages for emotional distress?

Please, no one turn on an old “Lassie” re-run right now. Cosmically, I will feel it and I will cry.





The Healthcare Cha Cha

Ours is a representative government. The idea is that the people vote and – whomever the majority votes for based on the ideas he/she promoted which allegedly mirror those of the people who voted for them – “represents” the will of the people.

Which is all well and good except for two things: most voters vote for slogans or attacks against other candidates, not fully fleshed out policies for which they know the domestic and foreign impacts.  Also, once someone has been voted into federal office, that person is now responsible to ALL the citizens of their state/district, not simply the ones who voted for them, while the President allegedly now represents us all in aggregate.  But they don’t act as if they do.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the debate over healthcare currently raging. But what has been flipped is that the proposals to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act hurts voters who put representatives into office, as well as those who didn’t.

I just posted a Twitter thread that is an oversimplification, but I will repeat it more completely here. And I am sure it is still an oversimplification.

Insurance rates are negotiated based on the “pool of insureds” (number of people covered in total) and the “risk” of how many of those people are likely to have serious medical conditions develop that will require large output in payments to hospitals and doctors by insurers. So what you basically want is as big a pool of people as possible with as many healthy people as possible to get the lowest prices possible for insurance costs.

Block grants to states like those proposed in the latest Graham-Cassidy bill don’t get you there. First, you have 50 individual states negotiating 50 individual healthcare systems for however many people live in their states.  That bodes better for California and New York than it does for sparsely populated states in the middle of the country.  Also, states with a younger, healthier population will be able to negotiate better rates than will states with aging populations.  The inequities among healthcare programs between states will be staggering.

Also, Graham-Cassidy takes the current ACA Medicaid subsidy levels and spreads them over all 50 states, whether they originally opted for this when ACA first came out or not. By doing so at current levels rather than at levels which would have been in place had all 50 states opted in from the beginning, it penalizes states that accepted Medicaid expansion under “Obamacare.”  That is not a fair distribution, in my opinion.

That state government will somehow be more “compassionate” than the federal government in administering healthcare is laughable. State governments have fewer tax dollars to administer programs.  And employees – be they compassionate or “couldn’t care less” – inhabit government at every level.

Finally, I do not “buy into” the notion that this is the last chance we have to get healthcare “right.” This is just the last chance the GOP currently has to “repeal and replace” on 50 votes versus the 60 vote margin usually needed to pass legislation.  They are doing it for the “win,” not because their proposal offers a comprehensive approach to designing healthcare for the country.

Clearly, the largest “pool” of insureds would be the entire population of the country – that’s more than 323.1 million of us. Since that is all of us, this also represents the “healthiest” pool one could put together.  Does that mean it must be “single payer” healthcare? Not necessarily.  It does mean we all participate.

We could have a national Medicare program from which all citizens purchase health care. In recent years, Medicare Advantage plans have shown that people can have choice within a government health insurance program that allows them to select the levels of insurance they want, at prices they are willing to pay, with pre-existing conditions and wellness benefits covered, from companies competing for their business.

This is where the screams of “Social Security is going broke!” start. First, when he was President, Reagan in 1982 raised payroll taxes in anticipation of Social Security’s greater needs due to the impending retirement of Baby Boomers.  For years, Social Security ran surpluses in taxes collected versus dollars spent.  By law, those surpluses must be converted into interest-accruing bonds which the government then borrows and must pay back by a certain deadline.  (In the case of monies borrowed by Bush to fund tax cuts for the wealthy and the war in Iraq – some $708 billion according to Politifact – those interest payments are due in 2020.  However, these types of bonds are not earmarked for specific types of government spending.  The $1.37 trillion attributed to Bush also includes monies used for the financial bailout in 2008.  All presidents going back to Roosevelt have “borrowed” from Social Security at some point, this Politifact article suggests.  All information in this paragraph and the one that follows comes from an August 3, 2015 article by Linda Qui. )

So, the bonds have to be re-payed. This will likely come in higher taxes by 2020 that – unless Ryan gets his dream of a very streamlined, reduced tax system that disproportionately benefits the rich – will come mostly from the wealthy who benefitted from Bush’s tax era cuts.  (If I have explained this incorrectly, somebody speak up and correct me.  Linda Qui, are you there?)

All of this is what makes it so hard to vote and know who to vote for – it’s complicated. Which is why it’s stupid, in my humble opinion, to vote for anyone who does not have policies that are fully developed on the key issues that impact our lives.  This includes costing them out and showing how they will be paid for.

Am I really calling for single payer? If it can be made to make economic sense, then why not?  That is what the GOP is allegedly looking for – economic sense.  And the Dems are looking for “universal” coverage.

But allowing everyone to buy into Medicare – yes, that I am definitely saying deserves a look before we make a decision on what healthcare looks like going forward.

Tying the entire population to some type of insurance structure modeled on the Medicare Advantage system makes sense to me. So far I have seen no proposals that have ever fleshed this option out.  And until we do run those numbers, we have not solved the problem of healthcare in America, no matter how Congress votes by September 30.