Slash Fail GOP

Sad Paul Ryan

Sad Paul Ryan Is Sad

So we can add another major failure to the Republican agenda since their healthcare plan is toast. I put some effort into this even though it was kind of pointless because none of my delegation was going to break ranks. But thanks so much to everyone who put the effort in. It’s also proof that the issues with the Republican party in the house still exists and they really are their own worst enemy. Also, it’s proof that the Republican President is unusually weak politically as well as being inept at his job.

Would just like to add that my Senator is an idiot. I could hope that there was hope, and I’ll keep writing both of them. But daaamn this is just stupid and self-inflicted. Like so much else the GOP has to offer right now.

Immigration updates

The most surprising recent news was this article about an Israeli teen who is apparently responsible for hundreds of the bomb threats called into Jewish community centers in the U.S. and around the world. A slip-up in his call to a Jewish Center in New Zealand was apparently what got him caught. This is bizarre news and the best theory so far is the teen literally has brain damage.

It’s good news overall and also proof that the world is much weirder than we can believe. On the other hand, we’ve still got the people vandalizing Jewish Cemeteries, burning down Mosques in the U.S., and attacking people because of race and religion, and we can’t pin it all on this one dude.

Going through maybe a month’s worth of notes, for now:

March 22, 2017

White man traveled to New York to kill black men and ‘make a statement,‘
This is a pretty disturbing story. It reminds me a great deal of the murder of George Tiller a few year’s back where you had a White a-hole completely convinced he was in the right and just kill someone then go directly to jail. Only what the Baltimore white guy this year believes is that killing Black men is right. This is the damage that the white right reality distortion field can do and it may not let up for years.

UK, US ban electronics in carry-on luggage from Middle East airports
The story here is two fold: it’s going to be that much harder for travelers from Muslim countries to travel to the U.S., and we still don’t know if we can trust the U.S. government enough to just go on with this new piece of security theater. I mean, probably since it didn’t come directly from Trump and the U.K. is going along?

March 19, 2017

Refugee Nearly Freezes To Death Fleeing To Canada
I really want to collect all of these stories in a single place, but for now another demonstration of the effect the Muslim Ban has had on people even when it has been blocked at every turn.

Retired US police chief was detained by Customs for 90 minutes by CBP in JFK
So we have a U.S. citizen with a name that maybe matches some Muslim guy they’re looking for, and he has to wait 90 minutes and would have waited longer if another CBP agent didn’t take his side. And this man has travelled overseas “countless times since becoming a citizen”. This should not be the new normal in America.

March 17, 2017

Africa Trade Meeting Has No Africans After US Visa Denials
This conference in California usually has over a hundred delegates from across Africa, and this time none of them were allowed to attend. And we don’t know if this is just a fluke or part of new policy because there’s no one in Congress investigating and hardly anyone in the Republican Administration to ask about this.

March 16, 2017

Trump immigration policies kill work visas for specialized Canadian nurses
Again, we have no clear policy from CBP or CIS, and no one in place to help clear up whether this is official policy towards any foreigners now or just a case of normal bureaucratic failure.

Amid ‘Trump Effect’ Fear, 40% of Colleges See Dip in Foreign Applicants
This is a direct result of the policy, and it hasn’t even been implemented yet. See this opinion piece, for more commentary from people directly affected by this in the U.S.

Canada’s privacy watchdog probes US border phone seizures
Along with all of the other weird actions from CBP, many people have been reporting an uptick in cell phone seizures and demands to unlock the data in those phones. This is bad news both from a personal privacy area, and from international relations. People will stop coming to the U.S. if we hassle them too much for no good reason, and this may be the exact outcome some in the Republican Administration are looking for.

March 15, 2017

Mojahed Abu al-Jood, a Syrian refugee, recounts his perilous journey into Turkey with smugglers
This is the kind of story that always hurts to read, but it is important to recognize the peril refugees are fleeing from. And the danger that awaits them from people who are trying to take advantage of their situation. Safety is precious and easily overlooked when you’re half a world away.

March 14, 2017

Three More SXSW-Bound Bands Denied Entry Into The U.S.
More unannounced changes in policy from CBP and CIS. This one is directly affecting one of the biggest music and technology festivals in North America.

March 11, 2017

World Faces Largest Humanitarian Crisis Since 1945, U.N. Official Says
Millions across the Middle East and Africa are facing starvation and war and the Republican Administration’s policy is to close our doors and cut foreign aid. I don’t understand how anyone can think that is even a remotely good idea as a foreign policy. If these countries don’t turn to the U.S., they will turn to China and Russia. And that’s setting aside the fact that they are people in peril who desperately need our help.

March 6, 2017

There have been 3 violent attacks against Indians in the US in the past 13 days
Each of these men deserve their own entry, but there is so much to cover. The Indian Times has a good article on Harnish Patel who was an immigrant in the U.S. for 14 years, and was shot and killed in South Carolina in what appears to be a ‘racially motivated’ crime. I’ve already mentioned the killing of Srinivas Kuchibhotla which was also motivated by anti-immigrant hatred, but this trend is very troubling to me.

Again, so much to cover, and so little time to put it out there. But here’s the good and the bad news (mostly bad) from the past few weeks.

Healthcare Letter – March 7

I’ve been writing my delegation, from a very Republican state, constantly since January. I’m posting these in the hope there may be some arguments others can use in their letters or articles.

March 17, 2017

I am writing today to ask you to vote against the proposed Healthcare Act. Barring that, I hope you will at least work to remove the most egregious parts of the bill and also only work to only pass a bill that has been reviewed by the CBO and shown to be neutral or positive in terms of the overall impact on the budget. A bill that sacrifices our future finances is no real replacement at all.

Healthcare services are unlike any other service in the economy in that the person using the service cannot always know before hand that they will need it and cannot be sure what the costs will be. The benefits to individual families and to society at large of good health are also difficult to understate. In my time living in Australia, I have seen firsthand the benefits of a healthcare system that puts the needs of people first, rather than the needs of insurance companies. It has been difficult to explain to the people here why America has made the choices it has, when the outcomes have been less than ideal.

Needless to say, I have not been a huge fan of the Affordable Care Act. I do understand the arguments in favor of having decisions made locally rather than by some faceless bureaucracy, however I do not believe either the ACA or the Republican replacement bill will do that. In both cases, we end up with decisions being made by a patchwork of government regulations, hospitals and insurance companies, each with their own agenda and none of them necessarily with the needs of the patients in mind. The Republican replacement bill seems to merely tilt the balance in favor of the Insurance companies at the expense of the poor and the elderly without actually improving outcomes for anyone.

This bill, especially the House version which has brazen giveaways to Insurance company executives, is not what Republican voters have fought for over the last eight years. I question whether this is really the legacy you want for the Republican party. It will surely become a sore point for every election in the foreseeable future.

Also, I am frankly baffled at the claims from the Republican leadership that this bill will increase patient choices when it includes provisions that directly go after the healthcare provider of choice for millions of American women, namely, Planned Parenthood. I understand that abortion is a sensitive issue for many voters, but this bill is not the appropriate vehicle and any debates over the merits of Planned Parenthood as an organisation should be dealt with separate from the healthcare needs of the entire country.

In closing, I believe that the best argument the Republican Party has made against the ACA was over the way it was passed, over the objections of the entire conference with little or no opportunity for compromise. The replacement bill, as it stands now, includes all of the exact same problems as the ACA without the certainty of any real solutions to the problems in the American healthcare system. The only certainty is that all of the blame for these problems will now pass to the GOP, and that the other party is ready to start its own “repeal and replace” campaign for the next election cycle. For that reason, I urge you to vote no on any bill that does not actually fix our country’s healthcare system.