Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dear Evangelicals: Just Breathe

My dear evangelical friends, please relax! Breathe! You are not under attack. Whatever made you think you were? Oh, yeah. The Republican Party - who are manipulating and using you. And, Fox. You know that there never was a "war on Christmas," right? 

Do facts count? I do hope so.

More than 90% of our House and Senate are Christian! If you count Catholics. You do count Catholics as Christian, don't you? 

Those who are unaffiliated with any religion (terrifying, I know) make up about 20% of the general public but only 0.2% of Congress. That's because voters would rather elect thieves, liars, cheaters, divorcees, drunks, and ... well anyone as long as they are a proclaimed Christian!

There is generally 0-1 person in Congress who is not Christian. Is that one too many for you?

Jews - who are rumored to be taking over the world in spite of being only .02% of the world's population - make up ... oh... about 1 person in the the Congress at any given time.

Over 90% of Republicans in the House are... Christian!

Around 80% of Democrats in the House are... you guessed it! Christian! We do have some diversity - a few Jews, Mormons, occasionally a Muslim or Hindu or Buddhist thrown in.

Does it really sound like Christianity is under attack? 

Our currency does not have "In Allah, Buddha, Krishna, Johovah & Yaweh We Trust" on it, now does it?

After asking for donations, our city council had to have a talk to decide if it was OK to add a dreidle to the holiday decorations. What about all that "Judeo-Christian" BS?

Are the 6 major beliefs and the 5 pillars of Islam up in the courthouse? 

Hey, I want the Jewish commandments on the wall of the courthouse! All 613 of them!

What if... we got a school holiday for every Jewish and Hindu and Buddhist and Muslim religious holiday?

So, cool your engines. The gestapo is not on its way to your door. You are the gestapo! No worries!

Love and Peace, 

Statistics from PEW

Monday, July 3, 2017

Democrats and Republicans Have So Much in Common!

Dear Friends,

It has been utterly shocking to me to discover that Republicans and Democrats share virtually identical beliefs!

Liberals believe that they play fair and conduct themselves with decorum and that Republicans don’t. Republicans believe – well, you can guess!

Republicans believe that Democrats value nothing but power and winning – and Democrats view Republicans the same way. Amazing!

Liberals don't believe that Republican positions are legitimate. And, vice versa!

Republicans want to shut up Democrats and make them go away. And… you guessed it!

Democrats view Republicans as racists, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic because they do not speak out against racism, oppose access to birth control and OB-GYN care for women, oppose same sex marriage, and oppose immigration.

Republicans view Democrats as “bleeding heart liberals” who choose these positions because they are fashionable.

Republicans and Democrats both believe that, “These people are not arguing in good faith. I'm convinced that many of them don't even really believe their own crap.”

They both believe that the "other side" is destroying our country!

Liberals and Conservatives both believe that they are “Going to have to come to terms with this reality (the lack of good faith and good will) and start playing hardball back.”

Both sides believe that going low is “a coordinated strategy” on the part of the other side. So much in common!

 Each side sees the other as “vicious.” Evidently, the viciousness of the other side explains one’s own viciousness.

Liberals and Conservatives both believe that the other side is evil.

Many on both sides seem to believe that “the ends justify the means.”

Republicans seem to be aware of every insult to their side and their politicians and completely unaware of negative behavior on their own part. And, vice versa!

Democrats think that Republicans “never turn their backs” on one of their own and…Surprise! Republicans believe that to be true of Dems!

With so much in common, it would seem that everyone could put the welfare of country first and work toward solutions!

Nah… Not gonna happen.  But, I can hope, can't I?

Hoping for reconciliation, 

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Love Letter about Health Care

Dear Republicans:

I am going to hold you responsible for every single death that results from lack of health care if your catastrophe of a bill passes.

Remember facts? Those pesky things! Read on. You can do it!

I really love health care! And, life. Life.


Health care is a moral issue:

 “The issue of universal coverage is not a matter of economics. Little more than 1% of GDP assigned to health could cover all. It is a matter of soul.” (amsa.org)

There are 18,000 excess deaths for people between age 25-64 per year because of lack of insurance and health care.  (amsa.org)

Our friends, neighbors, and family are suffering:  emotionally and financially.  (amsa.org)

The United States of America is the only developed country in the world that sees health care as a privilege and not a right. (amsa.org)

The US treats health care as a product – an economic product – and, not as a social good.

Who are the uninsured?

80% of the 45 million who don’t have insurance and health care – or it isn’t adequate – are employed or from working families.  (pbs.org)

How does lack of insurance or under-insurance affect the lives of our fellow Americans?

The uninsured are more likely not to fill their prescriptions. (amsa.org)

They are more likely to pay more. (amsa.org)

The uninsured are more likely to have difficulty getting medical care. (amsa.org)

More than half of the uninsured postpone medical care for financial reasons.  (amsa.org)

Over 1/3 do not have recommended medical tests or treatments because they cannot afford it.

40% of our uninsured do not have a regular source for medical care. (amsa.org)

20% of those without insurance get their care from and ER while only 3% of those with insurance use an emergency room for regular care. (amsa.org)

The uninsured are 50% less likely to receive preventive care.  (amsa.org)

The uninsured are far more likely to be diagnosed late and begin treatment late.  (amsa.org)

Health insurance and health care have become unaffordable for Americans.

Health insurance premiums have been rising at a rate of increase that is 2-3 times the rate of inflation. (amsa.org)

These costs have led to a large increase in the number of people without health insurance and without health care. (amsa.org)

Before the ACA, 45 million people were without health insurance and millions more had insufficient insurance. (amsa.org)

More and more middle class Americans are unable to afford insurance and have no access to health care. (amsa.org)

Fewer and fewer employers provide insurance to their employees. (amsa.org)

There is a trend for employers to provide insurance with higher deductibles that cover fewer and fewer medical expenses.  (amsa.org)

As fewer employers provide insurance, more people turn to Medicaid – the safety net – but there are constant cuts to Medicaid funding.  (amsa.org)

There is vast room for improvement in quality of health care, in delivery, and in cost cutting in the USA.

The USA spends $8,233 per person per year. (pbs.org)

Our health care budget eats up 17.6 percent of our GDP.  (pbs.org)

We spend more than 2 ½ times what most other developed countries spend.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development:

The USA has fewer practicing doctors/population than most other OECD countries.

We have fewer hospital beds/person than other developed nations.

Our hospital stays are shorter – yet, our costs are much higher.

Our life expectancy is one year less than other OECD countries.

Life expectancy in the USA increased by almost nine years between 1960 and 2010. There was an increase of over 15 years in Japan.

Other countries use a common fee schedule, but in the USA how much a health care clinic or hospital gets paid depends on the kind of insurance a patient has. 

Providers can choose which patients they will and won’t see based on insurance.

U.S. payment rates are less flexible than those in other countries: They can address increases in costs easier and faster.

The USA has fewer methods for cost containment because our for-profit insurance companies find it easier to pass on the costs than to negotiate with providers – doctors and clinics. (pbs.org)

We spend three times as much on administrative costs than France does.

Our hospital costs are higher than other countries – it isn’t that we deliver more hospital services. (pbs.org)

The quality of care in hospitals in other countries is a good as in the US and they are still able to attract people to health care professions. (pbs.org)

Many common procedures cost far more in the US than in other countries with comparable quality of care. (pbs.org)

Why does the health care cost so much more in the US?

U.S. doctors make far more money than in other countries.

We use more expensive diagnostic procedures.

No organization has a motivation to cut waste – from insurance companies to clinics to doctors: this is a for-profit industry.

The US does more testing and more expensive testing than other countries and performs more of some procedures.

Providers make more money the more that they test, treat, prescribe, etc.

“The uninsured are more likely to receive poor care for chronic diseases.” Living and dying thus are determined by financial status. (pbs.org)

The Case for Universal Health Care

There are costs of not having UHC:

Fewer years of participation in the workforce. (amsa.org)

“The annual cost of diminished health and shorter life spans of Americans without insurance is $65-$130 billion. People who do not live as long do not work and contribute to the economy as long.” (amsa.org)

Developmental delays for children without health care. (amsa.org)

“Medicare, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and the criminal justice system have higher costs than they would if there were universal coverage.” (amsa.org)  (amsa.org)

There is a cost to communities that have more uninsured people (poor communities): Providers leave, reduce staff, or relocate and there is less availability of health care. (amsa.org)

Emergency rooms are over-burdened and the insured and uninsured suffer from lack of availability Some ER’s shut down. Some reduce capacity. (amsa.org)

Lack of health care facilities in areas with high uninsurance rates weakens the local economy. (amsa.org)

“Communities with high rates of uninsurance have less effective control of communicable disease (e.g. less vaccinations, less surveillance of TB) and an overall greater disease burden in general.” (amsa.org)

Unnecessary use of ER’s is a financial burden. It is estimated that over 10% of ER visits are for non-emergencies, costing the health care system billions of dollars. (amsa.org)

The under-insured and uninsured don’t get the preventative and maintenance care that they need are more likely to need more expensive care later. (amsa.org)

Lack of Universal Health Care results in “job-lock” (people who have insurance through a job cannot afford to leave) and people may not be able to retire because they cannot get or cannot afford insurance. (amsa.org)

Lack of health insurance and health care stops people from opening their own businesses. There is an “entrepreneur” cost. (amsa.org)

The employer based health insurance system in the USA puts tremendous strain on businesses. (amsa.org)

And, the costs of insuring employees is added in to the cost of products making USA made products more expensive. (amsa.org)

 “In summary, the cost of universal health care would be at least $34-$69 billion, plus whatever costs are associated with covering out-of-pocket expenses and uncompensated care for the uninsured. Specific solutions may entail additional expenses as well, depending on their design parameters.” (amsa.org)

But, “The issue of universal coverage is not a matter of economics. Little more than 1% of GDP assigned to health could cover all. It is a matter of soul.” (amsa.org)




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dear Liberals, Progressives, Democrats: Join the 21st Century!

My dear liberals...  Oh, how I love you! But... Well... Something is wrong!

Liberals, progressives, and Democratic Party organizations – formal and informal - need to get organized to meet the demands and challenges of these times using 21st century means.

Many of us are using tactics that are outdated and ultimately destined to continued failure.

Political organizations must use social media.

Every political party unit should have an updated easy to navigate web-page, a Twitter account, a Facebook Group, and a Facebook Page.

Then, get to work connecting with other groups, sharing your info and events, and promoting your message!

What about live-streaming a meeting, a speaker, a portion of a meeting, an event…? Using Twitter during a meeting? Taking pix and sharing them on FB & Twitter?

Social media is a very powerful tool that cannot be ignored. It may not be the answer to everything but it has to be a part of the plan.

A look around social networks reveals that many groups, including local Democratic political parties, are not using social media effectively, if at all.

The boards of directors or the executive committees of some groups purposely refuse to support the use of social media: to allocate resources (money and time), to learn to use social media as individuals, to hire consultants to train board members and members, etc.

Why? They believe that it is a waste of time.

County Democratic Parties and other progressive groups often don’t have Twitter accounts or don’t use them and may rarely even post on their own FB pages and groups.

Board or committee members of liberal organizations often do not “Like” or “Share” the posts on their own pages/groups to increase their own Facebook visibility.

Chairs or other leaders of liberal groups refuse to share their events on other FB pages or on Twitter.

This means that other people and organizations using social media have to check numerous other groups and pages to collect info that should be shared by the groups themselves. Whew!

It's 2017! Get crackin'!



Friday, June 9, 2017

Dear Anti-Abortion Rights Friends

Ah, friends

There will never come a time when we all have the exact same values and beliefs. But, I hope that we can always have the same facts - from a diversity of sources and with citations, of course!

Even if you believe that blastocysts have souls or you don't believe that people have souls, can we all agree with science has to say?

Many abortion restrictions are not based on sound science. (Guttmacher Institute)

Scientists have found no link between abortion and cancer. (American Cancer Society)

A large study by the New England Journal of Medicine found no link between abortion and later pregnancy complications including miscarriage. (VeryWell)

The American Psychological Association found no evidence that the termination of a single pregnancy caused psychological problems. (APA)

95% of women do not regret their decision to terminate a pregnancy. (Time)

It is a myth that infants capable of independent life are “ripped from the uterus.” All states have term limits on abortion. (The Atlantic)

The fetus does not suffer during abortion: They do not feel pain until about the 27th week of pregnancy.

“Indeed, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said it considers the case to be closed as to whether a fetus can feel pain at that stage (20 weeks) in development.”

“The science shows that based on gestational age, the fetus is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester," said Kate Connors, a spokesperson for ACOG. The third trimester begins at about 27 weeks of pregnancy.” (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.)

Many religious and ethical groups support or allow abortion. (Christian Life Resources)

The vast majority of abortions in the US take place in the first trimester – 90%.  (Guttmacher Institute)

A Southern Christian doctor came to believe that he had a duty to perform abortions because he saw the suffering of pregnant women and girls as young as 12. (Newsweek)

Most people do not appreciate the desperation that women and girls seeking abortion are experiencing and that has lead them to risk (and lose) their lives. (Newsweek)

Abortion is not a new issue: “Abortion has been performed for thousands of years, and in every society that has been studied. It was legal in the United States from the time the earliest settlers arrived. At the time the Constitution was adopted, abortions before “quickening” were openly advertised and commonly performed.” 
(National Abortion Federation)

The cost of unintentional pregnancy and childbirth is enormous: about 12 billion dollars annually for medical care for mothers and infants. (Brookings Inst.)

Among women and girls who are least prepared financially, socially, emotionally… the unintended pregnancy rate exceeds 60 percent. (Brookings Inst.)

Anti-abortion laws prioritize the life of a fetus over that of a fully sentient human woman. (Center for Reproductive Rights)

This is what happens when the rights of a fetus are more important than that of a fully sentient adult woman: A young beautiful Hindu woman died tragically when denied an abortion of a pregnancy (that was in miscarriage) that had become septic. (The Guardian)

“Birth control is not controversial: 99 percent of sexually active women use it at some point in their lives.”  (Guttmaker Institute)

“Making birth control accessible and affordable is the quickest way to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.” (Naral)

 Peace, Vivian


Thursday, June 1, 2017

My Dear Soul Mates

Liberals. Progressives. Democrats - from the far left to more conservative than most Republicans: 

Once again: There is not a day that goes by that I do not read posts from you using derogatory language that stereotypes poor and working class people.

People who would never utter a derogatory racist term or make a homophobic comment feel completely free to make negative assumptions about huge groups of diverse people and huge regions of the country.

And, they feel completely entitled to deride the poor and the working class without knowing one damn thing about the people that they are trash talking.

In the last 2 days, it was comments about the "ignorant toothless hillbillies that elected Trump," and the "redneck racists" that were at a rally. These are not useful descriptive terms. These are classist terms. Classist.

One comment was on how terrible the "redneck racists" at a rally looked and dressed. Fashion reviews from a rally?

Dearest Liberal Friends: THEY CAN SEE YOU! THEY CAN HEAR YOU! Yes. Poor people. Working class people. Toothless people. Hillbillies. They do have computers. And, smart phones. And, TV. Cable! Who knew?

Do you really think that you have 2,000 friends and not one of them is from a poor or working class background?

When I chastised the commenter for stereotyping, she kindly let me know that "most rednecks are racists." Another stereotype. I will let the admissions committee at the Country Club know that they have competition.

Remember the lessons on how stereotyping is just lazy thinking? It applies to your thinking about poor and working class people, too. Who knew?!?

Oh, and those huge blocks of the country that liberals love to hate (Texas, "The South," Appalachia, etc. etc. etc? They are not a monolithic group. Stereotyping, again.

Here are some convos that I have had: Stereotyper: Wow, there are some hilbillies there.
Vivian: I am a hillbilly.
S: No, you're not.
V: Yes, I am.
S: You are not like "them."
Now, substitute the word "Jew" or the word "African American."

Shocking though it may be:
My father in rural Eastern KY had cable 25 years ago. I live 3 miles from the Janesville city limits and have none.

My mother was a school teacher and my red neck father was a union construction worker that sent 3 girls to college.

They were "yeller dog Democrats" who told me that they wouldn't sent me to college unless I registered to vote as a Democrat.

My mother worked to organize a union.

My little town had doctors and lawyers and teachers and writers and police officers and builders and ... poor people.

Oh, having no teeth is not a fashion statement. People have no teeth because a dental implant can cost $2,000 but it just costs a few bucks to have your teeth pulled.

So... how's the "winning hearts and minds" thing going?

I will never believe that you are pure of racism and homphobia as long as you despise poor people.

Why some of my best friends are poor redneck toothless hillbillies.

We need more love in the world, less judgment and no name calling or stereotyping.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Dear Friends on the Crazy Left - Yes! You!

Dear Crazy Left:

You are my tribe. My people. The place where I feel most comfy. My soul mates!

But, you are costing me my sanity - any shred of sanity that I had left.

I remember the Vietnam War. The Civil Rights Movement. Sh!t! I remember George Wallace! Gulf 1. Iraq - oops, wrong country. Who knew? AF. 

But, you know what is killing my soul. YOU, my dear soul mates. YOU!

Stop fighting! Stop SHOUTING! at both friend and enemy. Stop with the fake news and Republican talking points! Stop name calling! Were you raised by wolves? No. That's an insult to wolves. 


"Come together right now." Or, else.

Love, love, love is all there is,