Saturday, June 10, 2017

Open Letter to Senator Danes re Healthcare

The Right Honorable Senator from Montana Steve Danes Dear Senator Danes, I am appalled that ther House of Representatives passed the health care reform bill practically in secret and before discovering the bill's potential financial impact, and before allowing the American people to see it in detail and comment intellegently. I am appalled that this bill will likely increase medical and insurance costs for individuals, making health care less affordable rather than more so. I am appalled that this bill will increase the deficit while cutting taxes only for those making $200,000 or more. One in every seven Montanans stand to be affected if this bill or similar legislation becomes law. These are your constituents, Senator. Among them are a good number of Native Americans—1,000 in Lake County alone—who now are eligible for Medicaid but would lose their eligibility under the newest plan Health care is a major issue among Native Americans. We owe it to this small groiup to be sure they are counted. The needs of the few sometimes do outweigh the needs of the many. The United States has fought wars to liberate oppressed people everywhere. Right now, at home, your own constituents face an oppression of a different sort that the ACA was helping to address and rectify, but the AHCA appears to ignore altogether. We don't know. We don't know what the Senate plan looks like, and may not get to see it before it is made law. I am appalled that passing a repeal and replace act so quickly without proper scrutiny was more important than creating a better plan. I am disgusted that this plan seems designed only to benefit the very rich, the insurance companies, and the pharmaseutical industry. I am frightened that members of the United States Senate seem to be doing exactly the same thing, trying to sneak new legislation into law without debate or amendment. Senator, when you contemplate your vote on this bill or any variation thereof, please consider how your constituents will view your vote when you come up for re-election in 2020. Please remember that more Americans currenlt approve of the Affordable Care Act than approve of the President, and by far, of Congress. The HR bill is opposed by AARP, AMA, AHA, and many other major players in the health care industry. 74% of Americans do not want to see the ACA repealed. Only 17% do. Over 55% of Americans do not want this new plan at all. The ACA is not perfect, so fix it. Don't scrap it just because your party leaders tell you to do so. The new bill is a rush to judgment that will only make things worse. If Congress fast tracks this legislation and rams it down our throats, there will be hell to pay. Be on the right side of history. Make us proiud. We are watching, despite the distractions. Thank you for your time. Roy Blokker Lakeside, Montana

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Highland Park Muses Gallery: Birds

Just a quick brag. Please check out Highland Park Poetry Magazine's Muses Gallery for 2017 Summer: Birds. There are many fine and well crafted poems and there and many excellent bird photographs as well. Among them, quite a ways down in the gallery, is my poem, "Osprey," and my own picture of, you guessed it, osprey. They are a parent and young in a nest built upon a flat platform expressly for them because they had been building their nests atop power poles, which was dangerous for them and potentially damaging for the power company. I think the platforms are a brilliant way in which human beings thought outside the box to find a solution that works for everyone concerned. Thanks for looking! Support the arts and your local poet!! The link is: or search Highland Park Muses Gallery.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Neo-Isolationism: Trump versus the Climate

I have a leak in my roof. It only shows up on rainy days. When the sun comes out, the leak's not there. I can ignore it. Better still, without the proof, I can deny there's a leak at all. But while I do, the support beam under the roof is rotting away. Slowly, yes, but in time my roof will collapse. Intellectually, I know that to be true, but the sun shines far more days than the rain falls. Despite American isolationism, climate change will continue. I have long said that the United States is no longer the power or example she used to be and now Donald Trump makes it official by removing her from the leadership role in combating the Number One challenge to global—and US—human security. We have passed that role to China. In his efforts to look powerful and decisive Trump makes America look petty and foolish. This makes the United States, at least in terms of climate change and its implications, the Rogue Nation. Even North Korea ratified the agreement. Nicaragua did not sign because they thought the accord was too weak. Syria did not sign, presumably because its “president” likes to use chemical weapons on his own people. Trump says he represents the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris, but Pitsburgh and Allegheny County voted overwhelmingly against him in 2016. And what about New York or Los Angeles or Albuquerque? Trump is supposed to represent what the majority of Americans want; instead, he tries to appease a dwindling base. The oceans will continue to rise. The ice will continue to melt. The air will continue to warm. Weather patterns will continue to grow more extreme. Whether this is a natuiral pattern of the planet or caused by human activity is irrelevant at this point (I personally believe that human activity exaserbates and accelerates the natural cycles of the planet to perilous levels). It is happening and we have to deal with the changing reality humanity faces world wide. The great irony of global warming is the probable outcome that, in time—not much, either—the surface of the planet will begin to cool and then freeze, bringing on the next Ice Age. This is because the ocean's salinity lowers from ice melt, which changes the currents that drive our weather. Meanwhile, Trump, like Scrooge, will count his pennies one by one while the snow falls, wondering why nobody is buying his outsourced ties or renting space at Mar-a-Lago anymore. What bothers me most is his arrogance. He calls the Paris Accord a bad deal for America. Trying to secure a better world for his own son Barron is a bad deal. Trying to ensure that future deal-makers have something to work with is a bad deal. The world that Barron will inherit doesn't matter to him. What matters is how Trump himself looks right now, and he looks like an idiot. Tomorrow will be Barron's problem. Don't mess with the bottom line today, Son, because I sure as hell am not investing in you. You're a bad deal. Daddy Trump doubles down on the coal industry, which is dying because coal is dirty and expensive to extract even with new mining techniques that eliminate the need for miners. His position encourages oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia to look away from renewable energy sources that themselves will promote new industries and new jobs. I should not be surprised. Long range thinking is beyond Trump's ken. He can barely make a plan to cover the week ahead before his next golf date at Mar-a-Lago, which, I am given to understand, will soon be, as realtors like to say, under water.