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PatrickforB

Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Not disclosed
Home country: USA
Current location: Not disclosed
Member since: Mon Apr 28, 2014, 07:28 PM
Number of posts: 12,481

About Me

Counselor, economist and public servant.

Journal Archives

Given what just happened in Georgia, I am respectfully asking all DU readers:

Please call your US Senators daily on the urgent need for a new voting rights act.

If we all call them daily, write them, email them, and otherwise be very noisy, they might just take some action. Because this really is urgent. We can kiss this republic goodbye if this GA law, and the dozens of others Republican controlled state legislatures are cooking up, are allowed to stand.

We need to force them to make this happen.

I commit to all of you that I will be calling my two Senators every day on this matter. At each of their offices, locally and in DC.

Please, let us overload their switchboards with huge call volume.

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of

their appointed rounds."

We've all heard that, I know. Heck, when I was a kid it was even in cartoons.

I have posted before about the horrible 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, and how it is my belief that the Republicans did this to the USPS to break the union and starve the USPS for funding so they could crow about how government is inefficient and take steps to privatize the postal service.

But I found out something just the other day that hit me like a ton of bricks. Here is a three-paragraph excerpt from a book I'm reading:

President George W. Bush went after the US Postal Service in a similar manner with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. The Postal Service had been accumulating surpluses and proposed to use some of that money to convert its fleet of postal carrier vehicles—the largest vehicle fleet in the United States—from gas to electric and hydrogen-powered. This was intolerable to the fossil fuel billionaires who largely owned the GOP. So oil company CEO Bush’s 2006 law required the Postal Service—and the Postal Service alone—to set aside $5 billion every year to keep in a trust fund to pay for the health care expenses of people who would retire in 75 years.

No other company or government agency had ever been required to set aside monies to pay for people who, in most cases, were not even born yet; it was a naked attempt to drain cash from the Postal Service to stop the modernization of its fleet and to starve the postal beast to set it up for privatization.

Had the Postal Service not publicly announced its goals in 2006, it would have revolutionized transportation in the United States, setting a standard for moving the entire country’s fleet of cars away from gas and diesel.


Now, I know some of you do not like this author because he has been known to also criticize Democrats, but this excerpt, and indeed the whole content of the book is right on.

This book is well worth reading. I don't want to sound gushy here, but Hartmann is right up there with Howard Zinn, and for me that is high praise.

Here is the citation:

Hartmann, Thom. The Hidden History of American Oligarchy (p. 106). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Cats...

We do love our cats - we've got four. Two tuxedos, a Siamese, and a tortie.

I'm not really that much of a morning person, and my wife, who usually feeds the little fellows in the morning, is having a sleep-in. But this morning I was wide awake just before six.

So, I showered, dressed, and then went up and fed the cats.

Now, I get back down here and am online catching some news.

The cats had taken several of the keys off my keyboard!



I found the '5' key off to the side, and they had loosened the T and the Y. Plus it looked like one of them had browsed on the internet and was attempting to erase the browsing history.

Seriously.

I suspect the tortie.

I still want better healthcare.

Like most Americans who are still lucky enough to be working, I have crummy, rationed healthcare with financially crippling copays. My employer and I together pay my HMO, which shall remain nameless, 19.1% of my gross.

But that is just the premiums! Oh, no, it gets better...

Here are my copays:
Primary care - $30
Specialty care - $50
Urgent care - $60
Emergency - $350
Hospital - 20% co-insurance up to the 'out-of-pocket maximum' of $4,000. Each.

So, worst case scenario, I am out $28,000 with premiums and the financially crippling 'co-insurance.'

But...wait...

That is not the worst case. It could get far worse. The new agreement between the HMO and my employer leaves them wiggle room on the out-of-pocket maximum - if I require something like a hip replacement, which their bean counters now say is 'elective surgery,' my 'coinsurance' can go up dramatically, leaving me in danger of bankruptcy.

WHY, WHY, WHY, WHY is there SO much resistance to Medicare for all Americans? A single payer plan paid for with tax dollars? Like what they have in Britain? Or Canada? Or Australia? Or pretty much any other advanced industrial democracy in the entire world?

Oh, because we would not be able to choose our doctor!
Well, I have to choose between a bunch of HMO in-system docs. I cannot go to anyone out of system without paying an arm and a leg. So that excuse does not cut it.

Oh, because we have to wait too long for basic surgeries!
My wife's left hand is useless because of arthritis, and after the rigamarole we had to go through to finally get her an appointment for surgery, we are looking at several months - more like a year. And in terms of a scar-tissue removal surgery to relieve chronic pain from her failed knee replacement, we are looking at never, because the doctor simply does not want to do such a surgery. So that is a myth.

Oh, we do not want the Federal Government running our healthcare!
Oh, ok. So we would rather have a public sector CEO who makes $17.2 million with around $11 million of that tied to shareholder profits running our healthcare? Our care dictated by a for-profit insurance company whose interest in maximizing shareholder profits is in direct conflict with our best interests as patients? Maybe with some nice MBA bean counters working with nurses to deny care? That is what we have now.

I want better healthcare. We should not even have to worry about going to the doctor. We should just be able to go in, get the treatment we need, and be done. The profit motive needs to be removed from healthcare because it is a public good.

A colleague of mine was in Australia at one time in his student days. He broke his ankle. His friends took him in to the hospital and asked how much it was going to cost. Nothing.

After treatment, as they were leaving, they were asked to visit the cashier. Oh, no, my colleague thought. Here's the fine print...

So he gets up to the window and they GIVE him $40 to pay for a cab. Seriously.

Please tell me why we Americans do not deserve this kind of healthcare here at home.

Well, yesterday I got my first shot of COVID vaccine.

It is the Pfizer vaccine, and the shot itself didn't hurt at all. My arm is sore today just a bit, and I had some minor cramping last night.

To be honest, I was kind of scared of the shot because of the potential side effects, but even if it makes me sick, I figure it is better than dying of COVID.

I just wish the provider could have got my wife in at the same time. She's further down the list because she's just a baby at age 60.

Oh, and (on edit) I know this is the lounge, but under Trump, I did not think this day would ever come. Isn't Biden doing a bang-up job? He's great.

Mitch McConnell's hypocrisy is sickening. He and the forty-four Republicans he led to

vote 'no' on the contitutionality of the Senate trial are Americans in Name Only. AINOs.

They have put party over country for so long, they have forgotten how to be Americans, the republic, and the people.

Americans in Name Only.

AINO.

I'd like a bit of help, some ideas from all of you.

I just read this post and replied to it, asking for input, but I decided I ought to post this by itself in General Discussion.

I am doing serious research on the post-pandemic future of commercial real estate, workforce patterns and concentrations, community planning and economic development. As part of that, I would like to ask for your thoughts, if you'd care to give them. And any links to stuff you have read would also be quite appreciated. Many on here are quite bright.

If you read the Hudson Yards article it does beg the question of what our economy will look like post pandemic. Erstwhile retail stores converted to offices or industrial space, even residences. A vast, cold mall standing empty.

The philosophy of the capitalists, particularly the conservative Chicago School variety, is one of unlimited growth. But unlimited growth is also the philosophy of cancer cells.

There are economic development people who ramrod projects like this through by pressuring local and state governments to give massive tax incentives to investors, which then squeeze their ability to provide the local and state government services people count on. That has been an issue for some time - at least the last decade - and there are related articles at the bottom of this one about how NYC outdid itself to 'attract' this wonderful new thing.

Remember when AOC took all that flak about protesting against $3.5 billion politicians in NYC had foolishly offered Amazon to open its HQ2 there? That would have amounted to a $146,000 handout to Jeff Bezos per job that was promised, and now look what has happened to this pile of foolishness called Hudson Yards.

Maybe we need a new paradigm. Maybe seeking unlimited growth is as illusory as chasing unlimited power, as the Emperor Palpatine did in Star Wars. It is stupid over the long haul. You know, China was a victim of this - it has huge empty cities it built, to which no one ever came. Brand new, shiny, and filled with the ghosts of the hopes of politicians and investors.

Here's my question to you:

What, do you wonder, will our economy look like on the other side of this pandemic? What will economic development look like? What will the workforce look like? How will the so-called 'power of place' evolve? Will cities continue to rule the economic roost? Suburbs? Exurbs? Will rural America have a new (virtual) economic awakening?


I really want to know what you all think because I am doing a research project on this.

Appreciation thread for Joe Biden.

Biden was not my first choice in the primaries, but I got behind him in the campaign, and I am profoundly happy that I did.

He is shaping up to be a transformational president. The things he does and accomplishes may well benefit Americans for decades to come.

Also, Biden is clearly a very decent and moral man, a loving husband, father and grandfather.

We elected a real winner here.

I'm watching the remembrance ceremony.

It's tearing my heart out. The grief just came on me.

Righteous rant from AOC on white supremacy and the insurrection.

I don't post much on this forum, and I did do a search for this to make sure I did not duplicate.

This is an unvarnished presentation from AOC after the traumatic events of January 6, and I found it quite worth listening to.

So you know, it IS an hour long, so budget the time. Note that Rachel Maddow played an excerpt from it last night.

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