How to Fix Tax Reform | How to Fix the ACA
What Democrats Want | About True Americans
Dear Petroleum Industry
September 9, 2017
Dear petroleum industry, the storms and fires are here, so as a nation, we've rescued and ushered victims from their soon to be damaged or destroyed homes and cities. Dear petroleum industry, would you please pay for the damages? Even if you didn't cause the climate to go out of wack—and nobody is saying you did—but you have more money than all the rest of us put together.
Strengthen Voting Systems
September 7, 2017
On TV yesterday, Rep. Eric Swalwell said the House Russia-investigation committee is going off off-track again, wasting hours cross examining former National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Rice rightly unmasked Americans suspected of playing with Russian election interference. Rice did nothing wrong, so it looks like House members are just trying to stall. Maybe that's to make the yahoos think both sides played a part in something totally on the Republican side. No Hillary did not collude with Russians, sorry. Neither did Susan Rice.
Rep. Swalwell said the number one goal of the House investigation is to secure our voting systems. We know for sure Russian hackers broke into the voter rolls in about half the states. Further, Russians placed propaganda ads in social media, and yesterday Facebook issued a statement admitting they sold ads to a shady Russian p.r. company. We also know Russians troll farms opened thousands of fake accounts on Twitter and other social media, where they launched argument bots with links to to propaganda.
Further House dysfunction: Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes subpoenaed documents from the FBI and Attorney General, without agreement from the rest of the committee, and without first asking for documents without a subpoena. Nunes took this step, even after recusing himself last April because of inappropriate interactions with the White House.
Luckily, there are other investigations and lawsuits on Russian interference into our democracy. However, we need the House investigation to move forward too. There's a lot to do and we have elections coming up in a year. First, we want social media companies to shut down all Russian troll farms on their network. Second, we must use paper ballots - like they did in European countries who realized they were under Russian attack. They are smart and their elections were honest, with the result their citizens wanted.
How stupid are we in America? How aggressively have the Russians infiltrated our system? Without the House investigation, we may never know. Get with it House. We deserve the right to vote because our forefathers died by the thousands to keep us a free country. We win our future when we vote Russia out. If Russia wins, we lose by voting more Russia in. Do you want to wind up like Russia, where the head of state steals all the country's assets for himself? Think about it and call your Representative. Tell them you support Rep. Swalwell and the House Russia investigation and you want them to show their support even if they're not on the committee.
The Art of The Deal
September 6, 2017
Okay, debt ceiling, here's the headline of the day (so far): "Trump Sides With Democrats on Debt Ceiling Extension, Harvey Relief." That's the kind of deal making that could work. However, we never know what to expect next. This has been a stressful, confusing phase of American political history.
Crazy Making Over DACA
September 6, 2017
We support the Dreamers and resent the crazy-making statements about their immigration status yesterday. In the morning, AG Jeff Sessions announced they were out after six months - make plans and pack your bags. Then in the evening, Trump said if Congress doesn't act within six months, he might revisit the issue.
Trump, if you love the Dreamers, stop messing up their lives. Your cop out is not welcome. This is cruel and unusual punishment for people who did nothing wrong.
September 3, 2017
Leaving St. John's Episcopal Church this morning, a reporter shouted: "Mr. President - will you attack North Korea?" Trump said, "We'll see." That was a terrifying moment and hopefully he will not attack. In fact, that was really a bad question. I'm usually not fussy over grammar, specifically double negatives, but this is an example of why we want to think about what we want, instead of what we don't want.
I take the reporter to be a good man, but he got his question so wrong. To the twisted mind of President Trump, he could hear it as, "Mr. President - will you attack North Korea? Pretty please? You can do it, don't be a wimp." Plus it's a double negative - attack is negative and North Korea is negative. If you only get one shot, the proper question would have been: "Mr. President - what will you do about North Korea?"
Somebody should tell Trump he has a chance to show self-control and possibly turn his presidency around. All he has to do is don't react to Kim Jong Un, except to get together with like-minded world leaders and work out a plan together. That's just one of many ways Trump could demonstrate self-control this weekend.
September 3, 2017
You can't prepare for a hurricane like Harvey, I guess. Also last night, apparently Kim Jong Un of North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb. You can't plan for that, either. Thus, today our world is holding together through crisis management. This is the default method of running things for people, and groups of people, who don't plan for emergencies.
During this time of crisis and chaos, we also have a threat hanging over our heads. Will the president turn on the 790,000 Dreamers? America needs to hang together right now, not split ourselves apart at the seams. All this hassle over immigration.
Here's my ancestors' story: they came here on a boat, proved they weren't sick or crazy, signed some paperwork, and got in. Right now we can't be that lenient, but can't we be lenient when there's a good reason? DACA helped our country because it gave a lot of good people a chance to contribute. Isn't that an American value?
Suggestions for Effective Tax Reform
August 30, 2017
Here are concrete steps the House and Senate can take to make taxes more fair:
• Keep the $400k tax bracket - people who earn more than $400k per year continue to pay higher capital gains, etc., as instituted five years ago to repeal GWB tax breaks for the rich.
• Keep capitol gains low for people who make less than $400k - tax relief for people in lower income tax brackets.
• Set new progressive tax brackets for annual incomes of $1m, $25m, $50m, and $100m. Currently, people who make a hundred million dollars a year pay the same tax rate as people who make a half million a year.
• Lower or eliminate tax rates for people in the lowest tax brackets. For example, people living in poverty at $9,000 a year currently must pay $900 in federal income taxes, leaving them only $8,100 to live on for a year.
• Lower payroll taxes - let working people take home more of their paychecks.
• Deduct credit card interest - relief for people with heavy credit card debt.
• Tax benefits for people who make their student loan payments in good faith - relief for people struggling under student debt.
August 26, 2017
Note to history: we are in the second day of Hurricane Harvey, now a storm flooding Houston. In this difficult situation, we bow our heads, no matter what religion (or no religion) we are. We are Americans grieving for our country, and for the people affected in this storm, and for everything that's been going on. It's a gathering of sad events in a scary time.
We pray for peace between America and North Korea
August 18, 2017
Find the facts about the Trump-Russian connections at the Bill Moyers Interactive Timeline: Everything We Know About Russia and President Trump. Link here: billmoyers.com.
Unite-the-Right Tiki Light
August 15, 2017
Tiki Brand published this statement: "Our products are designed to enhance backyard gatherings and to help family and friends connect with each other at home in their yard" - a little flower growing from the crack of this racist sidewalk. Another advantage of the Tiki Brand lighting - the world can see the faces of the supremacists. Being a racist may feel so natural, they were ready to come out of the closet. They probably didn't calculate they would get consequences for their display of raw hate.
The best way to heal hatred is to experience the consequences of the philosophy. Just by virtue of being a supremacist, you turn parts of the world against yourself. You even turn parts of your inner self against yourself. You deprive yourself of the ability to improve. The first step to becoming a better person is to admit to yourself the obstacles you face in daily life are either of your own making, or things you can overcome if you try. You might even try making friends with people outside of your own race.
My theory is hate is rooted in child abuse. Unhealed child abuse victims become fixated at the age the abuse started. It's like topping a tree. Once the crown of the tree - compared to the child's innocence - is gone, the tree cannot grow into a mature tree. The abuse prevents victims from growing emotionally into adults who can handle life's problems. They remain emotional children. This brings me back to child abuse, or growing up powerless with no sense of justice or friendliness.
Child abuse victims begin to heal once they tell their stories to an empathetic listener and feel validated. Abusers begin to heal once they tell their story and get the negative consequences, scorn and disapproval for their actions. Abusers of all sorts - alcoholics, supremacists, egomaniac sociopaths, pedophiles, and liars - can reach healing through the gateway marked "here are your consequences, come on in." Other that that, there is no other way for sociopaths to begin to heal. Unhealed living a life in denial, they must blame their inner state on someone else. It's all about avoiding consequences for the hurt they have caused. They can only work out their victimization issues if they're also willing to work on their perpetrator issues. Especially after this weekend, shame on supremacists everywhere.
So give the ID'd supremacists a piece of your mind. Give them disapproval. Tell them what you think of them. But do not hit them. Do not send them death threats - the Russian bots will take care of that for you. If you want to, forgive them, but you don't have to for now. There will be plenty of time for forgiveness later if the situation evolves and supremacists change their ways. Imagine welcoming them back to society when they recant their racist ideology. This is already happening, because we've seen several former white supremacists interviewed on TV news shows.
For now most of us don't even understand the iceberg we're looking at. One thing we do know, immaturity and hate attract negative attention - that's why the old KKK wore hoods.
The President Rambles Threats to North Korea
August 10, 2017 - 11:58 a.m.
August 10, 2017 at noon here in the western USA, the President is giving a rambling press conference provoking North Korea. He says the whole world is behind him. Then he's called a national emergency on the opioid epidemic. He's like a child on a ride at Disneyland. Please please do something about this, Republicans. Nobody is behind him, admit it. We are all contemplating our mortality this week. Everything he does or says makes us more upset. You can't fix this, just as you cannot fix an addict.
What Made Vladimir Putin the Gaslighting King?
August 8, 2017
First, let me tell you my credentials and why I want to comment. I want to make a case he may have been a child abuse victim. I earned my master's degree studying how to use art therapy to help juvenile delinquents and child abuse victims recover. Part of my studies was to learn what they say goes on in the mind of a perpetrator. I've studied this subject since grad school, 1990.
Now I know way more about the subject than I wish I knew, but have come to peace with it. I've listened to the stories of at least a hundred people who were abused as children in religious groups. At some level I perceive, Vladimir Putin reminds me of my research population. Unhealed victims have a fifty-fifty chance of turning their anger on themselves or turning it outside as perpetrators. Further, victims-turned-perpetrators replicate the abuse as they remember having suffered. It's similar to repeating the same mistakes our parents make - everyone does it to one degree or another.
With the abuse microscope I got from Western Oregon University, please allow me to peer into Vladimir Putin's soul and tell you what I see. The good Doctor Sigmund Freud called child abuse "soul murder," and I agree, it can kill the soul if not treated. I perceive in Vladimir Putin a frightened inner child, wondering why he was being abused.
The child grew up despite the pain. But his internalized pain drove him to create a life where he is now the absolute ruler of a vast portion of the surface of the earth. He is idolized, rich, and best of all, he can kill anyone who triggers his unhealed abuse issues. I bet Putin has killed off one opponent or journalist for each time his soul was murdered.
Another behavior he may have learned as a child is the art of propaganda. Perhaps the abuser, along with his or her cast of codependent enablers, confused the child to make him forget what was happening to him. Incest families have their ways to discourage secrets from coming out, but maybe Putin's family was especially devious and cruel. We can see that in Putin's propaganda machine, and how he has used it to manipulate and gaslight us. When you see what he tries to do to us, that is possibly a window into the way people treated him as a child.
The only difference between the abuse he suffered and the abuse he's inflicting is the scale. The way his life worked out, he got the ultimate revenge. He was one child abused in one family, but now he can abuse every child and every family. He can even abuse people in other countries. As my last comment on this, when Putin was growing up, if he was abused, as it appears due to his sociopathic tendencies, it wasn't fair. He deserved help that never came. However, now as an adult, he is karmically responsible for all his actions.
Disclaimers: the statements here may or may not be accurate, but are my opinion. I am not a licensed counselor, but am a writer-researcher, and editor of Surrealist.org, Pray for Peace Foundation Newsletter, in print and online starting in 1996.*
August 3, 2017
Long before Trump associates started forgetting all these meetings with Russians, we had American values. These have eroded gradually over the years. Is it from years of psychological warfare from Russia and other anti-American forces?
Just a reminder of our traditional American values:
A pledge we learn from childhood we are one country indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. This has been more of an ideal than reality, but it's something we strive to achieve.
Protect the environment. This was always a bipartisan value until big money interests came in to buy off legislators. Voting rights and fair elections are American values.
Immigration is an American value. Although at times in our history, people have tried to limit immigration, we are a nation of immigrants.
Promoting the general welfare is provided for in the Preamble of the US Constitution and remains an American value. Legislators who try to sabotage the general welfare are knowingly or unknowingly working to undermine the country.
Talking About Taxes
July 29, 2017
One of the main aims of the opposition party, now in control, is to reduce taxes. Many of them learned this in college and feel extremely dedicated to the idea of lowering their taxes. Right wing people all over America want to lower their own taxes, whether they make $20,000 or $20,000,000 a year.
I understand why you don't want to pay taxes. It would be great if we could keep all the money we make. But let me tell you a little story that will explain why I feel a civic responsibility to pay taxes. It all goes to the type of world in which I would like to live. It's similar in a condo community, where every owner pays monthly dues. Where I live, it's $220 a month, plus $100 a month to the master association.
The master association provides a fifty acre lake, parks, and a clubhouse with amenities and parties. The master community is 320 acres, 1,200 homes, including four condo properties, two townhome communities, three apartment properties, and the rest single family home. Twenty percent are on the lake, including three of the condo communities. In our condo property, it's almost fifty percent renters.
One morning I had a little talk with one of the renters. I knew he had not been picking up after his dog, and he agreed to a discussion. My position: everyone must pick up after their own dogs. His position: the HOA fee is so high here, the condos should take care of dog waste. The young man hopes to buy his unit and become an owner here someday, so I try my best to tutor him on the goings-on, so he might also one day get on the board here. We're always looking for new people willing to get on the board.
I explained to him, we have janitors, but they only come once a week, plus there is a lot to do here without having to pick up after dogs. They have to sweep the cobwebs off the walls, pick up trash, clean out the light fixtures, arrange the pool furniture, and clean the condo clubhouse, including the windows and bathroom. Second, to make sure they get to the dog waste, if I see any, I have to leave them a note.
I told him how I had tried to get the board to agree to have the janitors here more often, but no luck. Our budget is tight, and I explained all the tree work, walkway coating, plumbing work, re-coating the parking lot, and other expenses we have to juggle.
I could see a light bulb go on in his mind - the home owners association does not use hundred dollar bills to light our cigars, and we do not have 1890s top hats. We work hard to maintain the property, pay all the bills on time, we respond to the owners' needs. Last year we exterminated a nest of termites under one of the buildings and bought the warranty. We use organic exterminators and a bee company that will do live bee removal when possible. We pick our weeds, and have not used Round-up in seven years. We got a recycling bin for the property.
Some HOAs are a nightmare, while others are well-run. Where I live, it's very well run. Not perfect, by any means, but in the higher percentile of well functioning groups. If we live in a system we feel is well-run, we willingly and graciously pay the HOA dues. The $220 pays for maintaining the common areas, including a wonderful pool area; sewer, water, and trash; and most roof and plumbing repairs.
HOA dues are not tax-deductible if it's your primary residence, but if you want to live in a community with a lake, clubhouses, parties and a sense of community, boating and fishing, then you pretty much have to live in an HOA. I prefer to not live in one, but here we are. It's the same with the United States of America. Your tax dollars go to maintain the decorations on the stage of the theater of your life. You have a country with plenty of parks, schools, museums, libraries, bridges, roads, airports, and street lights.
You might never know how much the different levels of government provide. For example, if something bad happens, you call 911. Another example: every morning you can get up and go to work, pretty much without having to worry about other countries attacking us. You can go on the Internet and have confidence using your credit card to buy something - plane tickets, a book, something for your home or garden.
So whether you hate or love the government, don't be like the renter who won't clean up after his dog. Don't take reality for granted. You get a lot just by living in America. We're all in this together. If you have ideas about how things should run, then get involved and learn what really goes on behind the scenes in this great country where we live.
Americans Come Together Amid Threats from Inside
July 27, 2017
There's one thing we can do, as Americans, to hold our country together. We can unite. The storms are mostly coming from inside. According to Huffington Post,* Trump asked Russia for help with the election one year ago today.
And what has he done with the power selling his soul gave him? He's left a wake of abuse. For example yesterday, the headline:
Today in 1948: Truman racially integrates the military. In 2017: Trump bars trans people from serving. Two very different decisions on the same day, decades apart.*
Our health care system, and therefore economy, is hanging by a thread. People's lives and jobs are in danger. And why? Our Republican legislators are spinning out of control, while the Democrats stand on the sidelines wishing they could help. It's like watching helplessly as your companions are pulled inextricably into an eddy. Some eddies will eventually release you back to shore or a safe rock, while others will slam you into the rocks or pull you under water and kill you.
What can we do to minimize the damage? First, realize this is being done to us. An unseen hand is orchestrating the chaos. What if key members of the legislative and executive branches work for anti-American forces, and their goal is to destroy our country? Everything they do seems to promote exactly that. Erase all notion of truth, then sabotage the health care system. That would pretty much do the trick.
To get out of this situation, we have to come together and unite as Americans. People eligible to join: anyone who does not work for Russia, is not being blackmailed by Russia, is not being threatened by Russia, and does not owe money to Russian banks. If you are in this category, you have a lot in common with right-wingers who regret their vote for Trump. You're kissing cousins with Republicans who were never-Trump. If you wanted Bernie, you have a lot in common with every American not under kompromat with Russia.
If we stand united, we can take our country back. Why? Because non-kompromat politicians will come forward and take back our halls of government from compromised politicians. Then we can get some work done to make things better for everyone.
How to make it happen: show extra kindness, forgiveness, tolerance, and love you might not otherwise show. Every time you see a fellow American, nod with the knowing we must come together to save our country. Pretty soon we'll be see the hundredth monkey effect, and we'll all be nodding and shaking our heads, realizing we have more in common than we have differences. We all want good health care and good jobs, a social safety net, an educated population, and a leadership role in world affairs.
If you are a rebellious young James Dean or Courtney Love, you can stand side by side with your fellow Americans and contribute to the common cause. No matter your race, creed, religion, income level, profession, background, or political viewpoint, you are an American, and you fit in the spectrum of our heritage. We are a rainbow of people and we stand united against Russians invading our elections, or our minds.
We the People . . .
Our Constitution was signed September 17, 1787, then ratified June 21, 1788. The real birth of our country is June 21, 1788. Note three often-overlooked benefits to the People enumerated in the first paragraph—the Preamble—of the Constitution.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
What Democrats Want
July 17, 2017
Democrats believe in health care for all. They brought us the Affordable Care Act and want to make it even more inclusive. If Democrats had their way, we would have a public option in areas where zero or only one plan is available. If Democrats would get everything they want, we would have universal health care provided to everyone without the need for insurance companies. All doctors and hospitals would be financed by The People, and all people could go to the doctor and hospital of their choice. Democrats want people to get good health care without financial hardship.
Democrats believe in taking care of the planet. They brought us the Paris Accords. If Democrats had their way, we would convert to renewable energy and leave the fossil fuel paradigm behind. Democrats have fought forever to get higher standards for environmental protection. Republicans used to care about the planet, but now they only seem to care about making money at the expense of the planet.
Democrats believe in equality and justice for all. They brought us gay marriage and laws, and other laws that prohibit discrimination. In the past, Republicans also wanted equality, but lately the Republicans have become the party that wants to restrict transgender access to public restrooms. Even with such stupidity, Democrats continue to be the party that fights for equality.
Democrats believe in regulation, especially regulation of financial markets. Although regulation makes it more difficult for big corporations to make big profits, Democrats believe in protecting the consumers. The Democrats brought us the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2011 to protect against financial abuses, especially by banks and credit card companies. The Republicans have fought and fought to try to prevent/not staff/or close this agency.
Democrats believe in progressive taxation. They brought us financial reforms, such as rolling back some of the George W. Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. They also brought the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010 to prevent another market bubble-crash. The Republicans want to repeal it. The Democrats want the rich to pay their fair share to lift up the whole country. Democrats want to see a healthy middle class, while Republicans believe it's every man for himself, and those who fall in to poverty probably don't deserve a good life.
Suggestions to Fix the Affordable Care Act
July 6, 2017
Here are concrete steps the House and Senate can take to improve the ACA:
• First step: The federal government assures the insurance industry it will fund the ACA as obligated by law. The federal government accepts the existence of the ACA and agrees to move forward and make it better.
• Close the donut hole for people who make too much money to qualify for subsidies, but still can't afford health insurance. Offer them a subsidy if they can prove a hardship, such as a high debt to income ratio due to student loans; having to support a disabled child, or other hardships.
• Cover more Americans. Allow additional states to join the Medicaid expansion with no penalties.
• Allow a public option for insurance in areas that have zero or only one option for insurance available.
• Negotiate prescription prices.
• Increase fraud investigation.
• For healthy and moderately health patients, put more focus on prevention and mitigation, including guidance on diet, exercise, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, etc.
Please join us in affirming peace in the world, and an America of peace.
We believe in a rich country with an inheritance in the public sphere for all citizens.
True Americans Indivisible
True Americans is a registered IndivisibleGuide activist group.
Meet us at 2201 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, Arizona.
Summer hours for protesting - Tuesdays from 7:30-9:00 a.m.
Bring your protest sign (or borrow one when you get there) and write a statement expressing your views to drop off at the Senators' offices. Senator Flake's office is on the north side of Camelback Road and Senator McCain's office is on the south side.
If you have a particular issue you want to discuss with the Senators in depth, make an appointment in advance:
Senator Flake (602) 840-1891, 2200 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016
Senator McCain (602) 952-2410, 2201 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016
If you can't be there, please call to express your views:
Senator Flake - Washington, DC - (202) 224-4521
Senator McCain - Washington, DC - (202) 224-2235
Tuesday February 14 in front of Senator Flake's office.
Visit the AZ Resist Calendar to find more opportunities to protest, meet with like-minded people, and sign petitions: azresist.org.
Nori Muster, Facilitator
norimuster - at - gmail
"Truth is always strong, no matter how weak it looks; and falsehood is always weak, no matter how strong it looks." - Phillip Brooks (American clergyman and author, 1835-1893) • "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." - Aldous Huxley (English writer, novelist, philosopher, 1894-1963) • "If you shut up the truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way." - Emile Zola (French novelist, 1840-1902) • "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer (English philosopher, 1788-1860) • "Truth may be stretched, but cannot be broken, and always gets above falsehood, as oil does above water." - Miguel Cervantes (Spanish novelist, dramatist, poet, 1547-1616) • "Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love." - Peace Pilgrim (American peace activist, 1908-1981)