Heartless Healthcare — GOP Ownership of Preventable Suffering

As President Trump meets today with GOP members of Congress to encourage backing of a proposed healthcare plan that will force millions of people to drop healthcare coverage, what other conclusion is there than that the U.S. has put the heartless among us in charge?

This plan sits heavily on the backs of millions of young people who will pay less than older people but will certainly, by necessity, decide they must gamble with their lives. And on the backs of people from age 40 on who will pay hefty, even impossible premiums.  For older people this means somewhere between 3 and 5 times what younger people will pay, as well as higher costs of care.

Take it from someone who was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early thirties after it had spread. Without healthcare, I would not be writing this blog. Young doesn’t mean exempt from health challenges.  In fact, health is what enables the young to reach their potential.

Perhaps you had a parent like mine who said repeatedly, “If you have your health, you can do almost anything.” The heartless in Congress, who have exceptional healthcare coverage for themselves and their families, plan to take from millions of Americans this foundation of life and happiness –the ability to be healthy and to successfully fend off disease.

This week’s modifications of the plan serve the wealthy with tax payoffs, propose to pressure people on Medicaid to work (even though most are elderly and sick or children), and loosely throws some money at older Americans.

Call your Congressperson today before the Thursday vote in Congress. See if he or she is heartless. Don’t fall for obfuscation about additional funds being provided for one group or another. That just divides us. Tell him or her to work on improving the ACA, not reinventing the wheel for a coach that carries only the fortunate.

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Don’t Miss Fareed Zakaria’s “The Most Powerful Man in the World”

Vladimir Putin may be portrayed as amusing on Saturday Night Live, but in reality he is no fool. He may actually be the most powerful man in the world, according to Fareed Zakaria.

When you watch this probing documentary aired on CNN, you see how the media can provide information necessary to preserving democracy. We need more of this kind of outstanding journalism in place of “some-people-say” reports lacking credibility and journalists interviewing each other instead of experts.

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Kiss Your Grandparents Good-Bye Under GOP Healthcare Act

Read the CBO report about the Republican healthcare plan and it’s immediately evident that especially older Americans will be hit with premiums they simply won’t be able to pay.

Next year, an additional 14 million people will be without health insurance should the GOP plan prevail.  By 2026 that number will be 24 million.  And because Paul Ryan doesn’t appear to care if older people suffer and die early, he’s pretty happy with the burden of the plan sitting on the shoulders of the aging.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, told reporters. “Thousands of Americans will die if this legislation is passed and we have to do everything that we can to see that is defeated.”

And it gets worse.  People claiming to be pro-life are willing to let especially poor and older Americans suffer and for millions of them to die early.  To cover this horrific attack on the vulnerable and ill in society, Paul Ryan bounces around saying that people will get to choose not to have health insurance.  You can bet his family will have it.

Take it from someone who was surprised to learn she had breast cancer in her early thirties.  Choosing not to have healthcare coverage is a level of optimism no one can afford.

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Bringing An End to Some-People-Say News — No More Important Time Than Now!

I published the article below at Huffington Post in 2011 and several after it on the same subject — what I’m calling “some-people-say journalism.”

As predicted in the article, over the last several years sloppy journalism using such phrases as “some-people-say,” “many people think,” “there are those who say,” instead of identified, credible sources lowered the bar in terms of journalistic integrity.  Along with the bad habit of journalists interviewing journalists, people became used to not receiving information supported by credible, identified sources.  This helped open the door to “fake news” prevalent in the recent U.S. elections.

I’m posting this article again while President Trump is attacking the media, to remind us of our responsibility as information consumers.  And to protect responsible media, so important to a free society, from strategic attacks.  We should insist that even our favorite media keep the credibility bar high for our sake and their own.

Children do not learn to become wary of sources unless their parents and teachers share the need for that with them — by occasionally asking during advertisements and news shows “Do you think that’s true?” and “What sources did they use?”  Without such practice, children grow up gullible and are easily manipulated.

As adults, if you haven’t learned to be wary of sources, to reject “some-people-say” journalism, there’s no time like the present.  And likely there is no more important time.


HUFFINGTON POST — 10/17/2011  Kathleen Reardon, Professor Emerita, USC

On televised news this evening, expect to hear sentences beginning with “some people say” or “many people think” as a means of positioning a question for an interview or providing support for an opinion being advanced. Look for such deceptive phrases on your choice of early evening televised news, CNN and PBS too.

And what’s wrong with this practice? Aren’t we supposed to assume that we’re being led by our noses by the owners of media giants, that journalism is no longer the honorable profession it was, and this is just more evidence of how far it has fallen? Isn’t it our responsibility as viewers to sift through the hype and huckstering to find shreds of objectivity?

Certainly, we are responsible for carefully considering the sources of what we read and view. And yet, from decades of persuasion research, we know that people often process information without engaging in wariness or counterargument. At least when we hear, “According to General Colin Powell or “As Senator Webb described it today,” we know something of the political leanings of the sources. We know whether to consider them credible, intelligent, experienced, and trustworthy.

How do we know the motives of “some” people? Who are they? Where do they come from? How many of them are there? Under what circumstances were their opinions obtained? How old are they? Did anyone pay them? Do they even exist?

When will experts respond to “some people say” with, “Who might they be?” Or, “In fact, recent data indicates quite the opposite.” They could ask one of these questions: “How many people actually say that?” “Who are these people?” “Where did you find them?”

We’re into an important campaign season, one culminating with the election of the next president of the United States. As we’ve seen over and over, it’s an exercise is separating hype from truth, opinions from factual information, and political machinations from admirable political skill.

Slipping “some people say” and “many people think” into “news” is not much different from placing subliminal product messages in grocery store music. It’s deceitful. It takes advantage of consumers.

Change the channel the next time you hear, “some people say,” “many people think,” or vacuous statements in this genre. E-mail the station. Tell them to name their sources. Expect better. Insist on it!


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Article in the American Bar Association Journal – “Learning to Say ‘No'”

Here are a few tips for women in particular about refusing “junk” assignments — written by Stephanie Ward.


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Replay of “The Memo Every Woman Keeps in Her Desk”

It was 1993 when I wrote the Harvard Business Review reprint bestseller, “The Memo Every Woman Keeps in Her Desk,” and 1995 when They Don’t Get It, Do They? was published. But then today I read Muck Rack and Susan Fowler’s description of working for Uber. As if this past election season wasn’t enough of a wake-up call for women, it’s worth reading Fowler’s account of how little things appear to have changed.  Say what you will, if you are a woman, know a woman, are a father or mother of a girl, it’s time to wake up and realize that a new struggle is before us!

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What About the Impugning of Women and Minorities?

I’m fighting and firing mad now!  Not allowing Senator Elizabeth Warren to read a highly relevant letter written by Coretta Scott King, long-time civil rights leader and wife of Martin Luther King Jr., about Trump’s pick for attorney general is despicable senatorial conduct.  There appears to be no end to what Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his inner circle will do to fill the president’s Cabinet with a number of unqualified people with questionable intentions.

This kind of protection from criticism on behalf of Senator Jeff Sessions is the antithesis of democracy.  It’s hypocrisy as well given the barrage of ugly rhetoric from the Trump administration that most Republican senators and representatives have chosen to ignore.

This may all seem amusing to Republicans who won’t break ranks to protect their country. But it is heinous and cowardly behavior.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) defended the decision to bar Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to speak now and for the rest of the discussions about Sessions’ nomination.  He claimed senators need to be “called out” for breaking the rules of collegiality.

Give me a break!  What about the total lack of civility that has been the hallmark of Trump’s ascension to the presidency?  What about Trump’s crudeness toward and insulting of women, minorities and nearly anyone who disagrees with him?  Where were the senatorial concerns for civility then?

Under the Senate’s “Rule 19,” senators are not allowed to “directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”

Reading a letter that was relevant when Jeff Sessions failed in 1986 to be approved by the Senate for a federal judgeship because of concerns about his racism is far from “impugning the character of a colleague.”  It is honestly and credibly sharing with the public information they need to know.

Speaking of rules — by the way.  The main one guiding much of government now appears to be doing whatever it takes to keep the public from information they need to have in order to make intelligent, wise decisions protecting their right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

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