CONTEMPORARY ISSUES

Stay In The Know!
WHY MEDICAL INSURANCE MATTERS TO YOU! by Deborah G. Hankins

WHY MEDICAL INSURANCE MATTERS TO YOU! by Deborah G. Hankins

The U.S. Senate is reportedly considering a healthcare bill, although few will admit to seeing it or knowing its contents. Rumors indicate it will not, as hoped, be a “kinder, gentler” version of the House bill. There’s been a great deal of criticism of the direct effects of the House bill including, but not limited to, tens of millions without insurance, astronomical cost increases for seniors and those with pre-existing conditions, inability to get coverage for preexisting conditions, watered-down coverage (with many standard situations not covered) and loss of support for those in nursing homes. However, I’ve heard little regarding the effects on those not included above. Please note the following is not deeply researched, but largely the product of my own logical process and as such could be far from accurate. I’d love feedback from those more deeply-informed than I. Let’s imagine an employed head of family with a spouse and two children. Insurance for this family is provided by his/her employer and deducted from his/her paycheck. In fact, both spouses enjoy this benefit, so if one loses his/her job, there’s a back-up plan. This happy family is probably laboring under the illusion that they have nothing to fear. I believe this is far from the truth! The disappearance of billions of dollars from medical payments will impact clinics and hospitals. Personnel will be laid off and programs will be cut. Wait-time for all services will be longer and some “frills” will disappear. If you need a class on dealing with your child’s juvenile diabetes, for instance, it may no longer be offered as often or not at... read more
ARE WE PREDISPOSED TO BELIEVE FAKE NEWS? by L. Milton Hankins

ARE WE PREDISPOSED TO BELIEVE FAKE NEWS? by L. Milton Hankins

As little tykes we were told the stork brings babies. It never entered our minds to look for storks in our neighborhood. We also believed Santa Claus brought presents on Christmas morning, and the Easter Bunny laid colorful eggs for us to find on Easter Sunday. It never dawned on us to question the veracity of these traditional celebrations and their strange explanations. Most of us were taken to some kind of religious Sunday school, where we heard how Baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem, how the sky opened up and an angel choir announced his birth to shepherds. And, wise men followed a star in the east, first to Jerusalem and, then, to the stable in Bethlehem where the newborn king lay. Now, at some point, we raised questions about the stork, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny until our parents, no doubt in exasperation, admitted Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were not really real. As to the stork, well, they hemmed and hawed and pretty much let the subject ramble around in our brains until we discovered from “someone” how babies were made and how they were delivered. As implausible as it seems, for perfectly obvious reasons, the story of the Baby Jesus, the angels, the shepherds and the wise men was continually reinforced while, at the same time, we were informed it all took place exactly like it says in the Bible. We were taught to ignore alternative possibilities and the implausibility of certain parts of the ancient accounts. Even if, considering all of the indoctrination, we had given a single thought to asking questions... read more
VIDEO SUGGESTS TRUMP IS SUFFERING FROM ALZHEIMER’S by Kali Holloway

VIDEO SUGGESTS TRUMP IS SUFFERING FROM ALZHEIMER’S by Kali Holloway

  [Editor’s Note:  The following article was sent to me by a reliable source. It first appeared at AlterNet. Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.  We decided to re-print it because of the large number of sources from which the material is drawn. And, it is now in the public domain. Some of the material has been annotated by other sources.] The most egregious parts of Donald Trump’s personality–his racism, his misogyny and his lack of scruples or ethics–have been on display for more than four decades. All of those traits have long been part of Trump’s unapologetic public persona. But in recent years, Trump has become an even more extreme version of himself. The behaviors that accompany that shift could be closely correlated with dementia and a general cognitive decline. The blogger behind the Neurocritic laid out what he sees as proof of Trump’s mental deterioration. He notes that President Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 83, though he began to manifest symptoms far earlier. Researchers have combed through records of off-the-cuff speeches Reagan delivered and found significant declines in his mastery of language. By his second term, Reagan’s speech showed a deep drop-off in the use of unique words, a marked increase in the use of non-specific nouns (thing, something, anything); an uptick in filler words (well, so, basically, actually, literally, um, ah); and a greater use of low-imageability, high frequency verbs (get, give, go, have, do). Trump seems to have parallels in all these areas. He has become notorious for his word salads, incomprehensible soliloquies delivered... read more
BUY AMERICAN by Beth Rankin

BUY AMERICAN by Beth Rankin

Early in my blog writing a woman who I really didn’t know messaged me “don’t yell. No one listens to someone who is shouting at them.” Or something like that. She became one of my best friends and I trust her judgment often and always. But it is apparent that many people don’t listen to anything that involves thinking and change. I will try again, though, I am Taurus = stubborn! So we have the start of the growing season here. The earth is warming and food crops are being planted in large mechanized commercial farms, much of planting can be done by machines with one worker covering a large field. And some food crops can be harvested mechanically also. However, many require hands-on. And that needs a work force. Part of our national history is the transition from an agrarian economy to an industrial and now a post-industrial economy. Almost 200 years ago most people living in the United States were involved with farming. You can see what has happened over time.   In the past twenty years more and more of these farm jobs have gone empty until filled by migrant workers. Many are Latino and here in the Williamette Valley of Oregon we very much recognize that our vineyards, orchards and large commercial food farms need these workers. It’s hard work. I know. I took a farm hand job three summers ago. Me. At 60 years of age, overweight, arthritic and with a bad back. The high school worker was heading back to school in August and the farmer needed someone until the end of the... read more
TRUMP:  AMERICAN PATRIOT OR PUTIN PROMOTER? by Richard Moberly

TRUMP: AMERICAN PATRIOT OR PUTIN PROMOTER? by Richard Moberly

What American patriot would advance and promote Russia and their President Putin over the reputation of the United States of America? What American patriot would defend Russia and their President Putin over the interests of the United States of America? There have been decades and decades of mistrust, rancor, disagreements, competition, conflicts, and, yes, cooperation with the two countries’ space programs. And yet over the past two years we have seen Donald Trump, the candidate (and again since his election) speak in defense and on behalf of this country’s antagonist. Why? How can this be? Is he so uninformed that he is not aware of Mr. Putin’s past and present atrocities against his own people and those of other countries? Or does he just look with a blind eye for some reason? IS TRUMP BEHOLDEN TO PUTIN? These questions will hopefully be answered in the coming months with the naming of the special counsel by the U. S. Justice Department. What we already know is that the Trump organization has relied on money coming out of Russia to fund their projects for many years. The two older Trump sons broadcast several years ago that their organization no longer needed funding from United States Banks, who quit writing the Trump organization loans because of their frequent bankruptcy filings. They had all the funding they needed coming in from Russia. Hmmm, so if you are beholden to Mr. Putin and his rich cronies for multiple millions of dollars in various projects around the globe, you are very likely not going to want to disappoint the man. Right? You are going to sell... read more
DON’T BECOME A TELEMARKETING DUPE!

DON’T BECOME A TELEMARKETING DUPE!

Each year, millions of Americans fall prey to telemarketing fraud at a cost of $40 billion. However, about eight of every 10 elderly people are targeted by telemarketing scams. To help you and your loved ones avoid becoming victims, Better Business Bureau says you need to do more than just hang up the phone. HOW THE SCAM WORKS: Telemarketing fraud occurs when a scam artist calls a person to misrepresent themselves with a product, service, prize winning, etc., that causes the victim to give money to the scammer, but never receives the promised item. Many times, consumers who become victims did so because they are trustworthy and then afraid or even embarrassed to report the crimes. TIPS TO KEEP YOU SAFE FROM TELEMARKETING SCAMS: Hang up right away. If you get a recording, don’t push any buttons, just hang up the phone. Pushing #1, probably isn’t removing you from their call list, but rather adding you to their potential victim list. You didn’t actually win a contest or prize. Especially if you never entered the lottery in the first place and you are being requested to make any payment at all. Be wary of callers claiming you won a prize and then asking for a payment of any size. Prizes are free, so don’t pay for taxes or insurance, these are deducted from your winnings when it is legitimate. Don’t give out personal information to someone on the phone unless you initiated the call and have checked out the person or agency. Never wire money or give the numbers from the back of prepaid debit cards. These are a scammer’s... read more