Myths About Single-Payer Health Care

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Honest health care policy experts know that the solution to fix the American health care system is staring us in the face, and it is single-payer, Medicare-for-All. The defeat of the Republican health care legislation put a nail in the coffin of the idea that Americans can’t be sold on Medicare-for-All.

Protesters Demand Single-Payer

The evidence is clear, Americans believe that every person has a right to health care, irrespective of ability to pay. We as a people, believe that we have an obligation to take care of each other. In fact, there is more momentum for single payer than at any time in our history.

Despite its enormous popularity and unparalleled record of success Republicans are deep in their war on Medicare. New proposals have emerged since the 2016 election that would slash benefits for the elderly and leave older Americans at the mercy of the “for profit” insurance industry.

Paul Ryan Republican Speaker of the House has been vocal in his attacks against both Medicaid and Medicare. He is calling for a voucher program that would transfer more costs on to seniors and leave them at the mercy of the private insurance industry. This action must be stopped.  It is not just about protecting our existing Medicare system, it is about ensuring that everyone receives health care as a right. It is a case of “everybody in, nobody out.”

Paul Ryan Is Waging A War On All Social Entitlements. Medicare & Medicaid Better Watch Out

One hundred Americans die everyday from the lack of health insurance. That is over 30,000 unnecessary deaths each year and that number is scheduled to grow steadily over the next decade. This is an American tragedy. With the Republican tax scam now signed into law we will see millions remain uncovered and millions more lose coverage due to increased cost for insurance coverage brought on by the elimination of the insurance mandate. The insurance mandate was a device used by the ACA plan to expand the pool to keep prices down.

Former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell believes Medicare-for-All is the best health care reform, and it is the only health care reform that will cover everyone and control costs. That is why the majority of doctors, nurses and hospitals support a Medicare-for-All system.

Dr. Marcia Angell Former Editor in Chief Of New England Journal Of Medicine Supports Single-Payer

What about CIGNA, Wellpoint, United and Humana? Their place in American health care would disappear.  They would be replaced with one insurance pool. The Medicare system that serves the elderly so well would be expanded to cover all Americans. “Everybody in. Nobody out.”

How would such changes save money? Upfront we as a country would save at least half a trillion dollars in administrative costs, waste and profits. That sizeable savings would be used to cover everyone.

At birth, everyone would get a health insurance card. This card would give you access to any doctor or hospital in the United States. Free, unfettered choice of doctor and hospital. This is unlike our current practice of allowing health insurance companies to tell us which doctors and hospitals we can see.

As it stands, if you don’t have health insurance–or if you have insurance with sizeable co-pays and deductibles–you’re likely to stay away from a doctor or hospital until the condition becomes  critical, and then most likely you will end up in your local ER.

30,000 American Die Annually Because They Have No Health Insurance

Obvious positives: A Medicare-for-All system would cut drug prices by more than 40%. A Medicare-for-All system would  emphasize prevention. “An ounce of single-payer prevention is worth a pound of high-tech cure.” A Medicare-for-All system would be a powerful voice against alcohol, tobacco, junk food and sugary beverages. Furthermore, a single-payer system would store treatment results in a single database, doctors would have access to more complete research data, thereby making it easier to detect the dangers of certain drugs and environmental and workplace exposures.

Our inadequate health care system leaves millions out in the cold. Until every American is covered the body count will continue to rise. Remember at least 100 Americans die daily directly related to their inability to pay for health care. Tens of millions of people face crushing medical bills, even people with insurance are forced to choose between medicine and basic necessities like food and shelter. This is WRONG.  Medical bills are the number one cause of personal bankruptcies in the United States.

Medical Bills Are The Number One Cause Of Personal Bankruptcy In United States

Health insurance costs are going to continue to spin wildly out of control. Insurance premiums are doubling every six years, and insurers are continually pushing for patient increases in the share of cost, most significantly through higher deductibles and co-payments they demand from their customers.

Bernie has it right. There can be no compromise with the health insurance industry.  Putting the sharks in charge of the goldfish makes no sense. If Paul Ryan has his way that will be the result, seniors will be at the mercy of insurance companies.  The ACA tried to keep the insurance companies in the game, however it has become clear to most of us who are following this issue closely that the insurance industry will give less at more cost. Ryan’s voucher program in place of Medicare-for-All would be a disaster.

Lobbyists For Health Insurance Providers & Drug Companies Fill The Halls Of Congress

Remember every day 100 Americans die from lack of health insurance. Every day hundreds go bankrupt from medical bills. Both a national tragedy and a national disgrace. We must support sensible policy and sensible policy is Medicare-for-All. There is an army of lobbyists representing health care and drug industry visiting legislators everyday their central mission is to block Medicare-for-All.

Public Citizen is a citizen action group working on many public policy issues, one of them being Medicare-for-All. In a recent mailer Public Citizen responded to 6 “Myths and Lies” about a single-payer system. I would like to share their responses to the most frequent arguments.

1.) Argument: Single-payer is government-run health care.


Government run health care is the Veterans Administration. Or the British system where the government pays for the doctors and hospitals.

Under Single-payer you get a health care card and you can go to any doctor or hospital in the U.S.

Doctors are not employees of the government. Hospitals remain in private hands. You get free choice of doctor and hospital.

2.) AArgument: Single-payer will lead to rationing, like in Canada.


Right now in the United States, the private health insurance companies ration care.

If you don’t have health insurance, you don’t get health care. More than 30 million Americans now lack health insurance.

That’s why 100 Americans die every day from lack of health care.

There are some problems in the Canadian system, but most of what you hear about long lines is health insurance industry propaganda.

Zero, let me repeat that, zero people die every day in Canada due to lack of health insurance.

3.) Argument: Costs will skyrocket under single-payer.


Single-payer is the only health care reform that will save enough money to insure everyone.

By eliminating the health insurance industry, the country will save $500 billion a year or more in administrative costs and profits.

That money is then used to insure those who lack insurance and fully cover those who are under-insured.

Yes, more people will be seeking health care because they will now have insurance. But they will be taking care of medical problems early, thus preventing more costly treatment later.

4.) Argument: Drugs will be more difficult to get under single-payer.


The drug industry would have you believe that there will be less research and development under a single-payer system.

In fact, much medical research is now funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Under single-payer, this would grow.

Also, drugs will be cheaper under single-payer.

When all patients are under one system, the payer wields a lot of clout.

For example, the VA gets a 40% discount on drugs because of its buying power.

This single-payer buying power is the main reason other countries’ drug prices are lower than those in this country. (*Now you know why the drug industry is so opposed to a potential single-payer system.)

5.) Argument: Single-payer will cover less than the insurance I have now.


For the majority of Americans, single-payer will be a vast improvement.

All medically necessary care would be funded through the single-payer, including doctor visits, hospital care, prescriptions, mental health services, nursing home care, rehab, home are, eye care and dental care.

An enlightened single-payer will also result in a sharp increase in public health funding to prevent disease.

No more bills. No more deductibles. No more co-pays.

6.) Argument: Single-payer will cost me more than I’m paying now for private health insurance.


The majority of Americans will pay about the same or less than they are paying now.

Instead of paying premiums to a private insurance company, most of us will pay a similar or smaller amount in taxes.

So, now, if you are paying $8,000 in premiums for a family of four with a $4,ooo deductible, your yearly liability is at least $12,000.

It is most likely that you will pay less than that in taxes to fund a universal single-payer.

There will be no deductibles or co-pays.

And, you can go to see any doctor or check into any hospital in the United States.

Thanks again Public Citizen for answering a lot of the common questions people have about single-payer. Public Citizen is fighting for single-payer every day.  Put them on your donation list.

Calamity Politics is an online news magazine presenting a progressive view of politics and policy. Join me for comment and opinion. Join the Resistance. We are Indivisible.


(**In my perfect world the health care insurance card would also a national voter ID. A guarantee to get access to voting nationwide. Just my idea to stop the calls of fraudulent voters and the ongoing suppression of the vote.**)


Trump Gives Middle Finger Salute To Coastal States

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Over the last year we have seen a number of environmental rollbacks and out right attacks on protected lands by the Trump administration. Despite these tactical offenses I was not prepared for the shocking move that Ryan Zinke has proposed that would open the West Coast to petroleum exploration. I wrote about it last week, but the potential effect has sent me into a full blown rage.

The Beauty Of The Pacific Coast Is Staggering

The Zinke proposal can be best viewed as a middle finger salute to the people of all coast states, many of who voted for Hillary Clinton. I live in Oregon, one of the Pacific coast states that could be effected by the oil-leasing plan. The immediate consequences are likely to be few, at least off the Oregon and Washington coasts. The actions of the administration will most likely have the issue tied up in political wrangling and lawsuits for years.

The prospects of exploration and exploitation of oil in our offshore waters has prompted the governors of Oregon, Washington and California to mount an unified front of opposition to the concept of any offshore drilling or exploration. These state executives need our support and encouragement as do all the governors of all the states on the Atlantic coast that are also attempting to block this irresponsible and dangerous proposal.

Oil Transport Tanker Explosions Are A Danger To The Environment

Time and again we have seen horrific costs of oil development and oil transportation, just think of  the Exxon Valdez disaster to the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. The giant global companies that run the oil and gas industry and the undermanned agencies that police the industry, have already shown themselves incapable of guaranteeing there will never be another incident for which they are unwilling to accept responsibility. An “accident” along the Pacific coast or the Atlantic coast would have the potential to kill crucial industries including tourism, fishing, and crabbing.

On January 6th, 2018 an Iranian oil tanker carrying nearly 1 million barrels of light crude oil headed to South Korea collided with a freighter carrying grain from the United States. At least 30 crewmen and passengers are missing and presumed dead. The tanker has been burning for more than a week sending cones of black smoke 1000’s of meters into the sky and igniting the surrounding water surface has just sunk. The results of this disaster will take millions of dollars in clean up and will devastate the environment and wildlife in the area for years to come. My point is that these accidents happen on a regular basis and we have no means to protect ourselves, or the environment.

Oil Spill Clean Up Requires Money and Manpower

Last week the governors of Oregon, Washington, and California issued a joint statement condemning the proposal, “the administration has chosen to forget the utter devastation of past offshore oil spills to wildlife and to the fishing, recreation and tourism industries in our states.  They’ve chosen to ignore the science that tell us our climate is changing and we must reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. But we won’t forget history or ignore science. For more that 30 years, our shared coastline has been protected from further federal drilling and we’ll do whatever it takes to stop this reckless, shortsighted action.”

Even restrained exploratory activities associated with identifying oil deposits have the potential of harming rockfish habitat, interfering with whale migrations and feeding, and increasing vessel traffic and noise in areas essential to endangered species from endangered birds, salmon to Orcas.

The opponents of offshore oil and gas exploration in Pacific Northwest and Alaskan waters have been vilified as obstructionists and the overly concerned, painting an image that we place more importance on sea otters and kelp than energy independence and national security.  None of us dispute that for now at least, we continue to need fossil fuels to power our cars and heat our homes. However, currently there is no shortage of oil that could possibly justify placing the coasts of America at risk for another devastating oil spill. Gas prices are stable. Taking in to consideration inflation, gas prices are equal to what they were 100 years ago and prices are less than a mere decade ago.

Opening the American coastlines to fossil fuel exploration is about nothing other than greed and politics, not about need for energy. We need to stop this move by the administration dead in it’s tracks. Let’s give a resounding “no” to this latest environmental assault.

Calamity Politics is a progressive online news magazine bringing the activities of Washington DC into perspective. Join me for comment and opinion. Join the Resistance. We are Indivisible.



Try These For Fun

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Yesterday I ranted and raved about the news of the last week and truthfully I need to step away from the horror of Trumpism and laugh. Here are a list of tongue twisters that should keep you giggling for a few minutes.

Try to say each of these sentences three times very fast

Lesser leather never weathered wetter weather better.
Which wristwatches are Swiss wristwatches.
The bootblack bought the black boot back.
The epitome of femininity.
Imagine an imaginary menagerie manager managing an imaginary menagerie.
Fred fed Ted bread, and Ted fed Fred bread.
Many an anemone sees an enemy.
Which wicked witch wished which wicked wish.

Sometimes We Need To Just Be Silly

Okay you are on your own. Remember, you have to say each of the above at least three times very fast.  I am stumbling over my words the first time through. Good luck, most of all, take a moment and be silly.

Calamity Politics is an online news magazine focused on a progressive political agenda, hopefully with humor and thoughtfulness.

Join the Resistance.



One Week Into 2018 & Trump Sets Off Alarms

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Michael Wolff May Have Written The Hottest Book Of The Year

The last week of Trumpism has my hair on fire. First, who can escape the release of Michael Wolff’s gossip laden new book about Trump, “Fire and Fury?” Wow. It is setting sales records. I ordered mine on Amazon, got free shipping. Yes!

I can’t wait to read every salacious word. Supposedly, Amazon will have it here by next Friday.

The White House was obviously blindsided when early excerpts from “Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House” was published online by New York magazine and other media outlets ahead of the scheduled January 9th publication date.

Many of the most eyebrow raising excerpts centered around comments by inner circle confidant of the president, Steve Bannon.  Reports describe Trump as “furious” and “disgusted” with Bannon’s newly revealed comments. Bannon reportedly called the meeting at Trump Tower in May of 2016 with Russian operatives “treasonous.” Further, Bannon said he doubted if Trump would be able to complete his term.

Sloppy Steve Is In Hot Water Over Quotes From The Fire & Fury Book

Late Wednesday Trump’s private attorney Charles Harder sent Bannon a cease and desist letter threatening a lawsuit if Steve didn’t keep his mouth shut.  The letter insisted that Bannon was bound by a non-disclosure agreement and demanded he make no further disclosure of  confidential information.

The hysteria didn’t end with the Wolff book, Trump had a very public split with Bannon, giving him the nickname “Sloppy Steve.” Rebecca Mercer, daughter of secretive computer genius Robert Mercer announced she and her father have also split with Bannon. This may lead to Bannon being pushed out of his position at Breitbart News, which Mercer has a financial stake in.

Trump threatens he will sue Wolff and the publisher.  A threat he has made often over the years while never following through. Charles Harder further notified Wolff and his publisher Henry Holt & Co. to halt publication.  Instead of stopping the publication, the threats increased interest in the book and have increased demand. The public demand has actually led to a speed up of the book’s publication by a week. Trump sure knows how to tamper down excitement.  Trump and surrogates could not have done more to spur interest in the book if they had been part of the “Fire and Fury” marketing team.

Trump Telling People How Smart He Is

The main source of distress is the confirmation of what most of us instinctively know; that Trump is a chaotic, stupid, childish, narcissistic, sociopath who probably can’t read. The more Trump tried to push back against the book, telling reporters that he is a “stable genius,” the more infantile he sounded.

The second hair on fire event for me, centered around the Trump administrations continuous attack on the environment. In April Trump issued an executive order encouraging more drilling rights in federal waters, part of the administration’s strategy to help the U.S. “achieve energy dominance in the global market.”

On Thursday the plan was announced, a proposal to vastly expand offshore drilling from the Atlantic to the Arctic oceans with a plan that would open federal waters off California for the first time since the 1970’s Santa Barbara oil spill. The Trump proposal offers a five-year drilling plan which could also open new areas of oil and gas exploration off the East Coast, from Florida to Maine. This region has been blocked from drilling for multiple decades.

Zinke Presented His Five Year Plan To Expand Oil Exploration

The five-year plan was announced by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Zinke stated that development of the offshore energy resources would help the economy by adding jobs and provide billions of dollars to fund conservation along U.S. coastlines.

The five-year Zinke plan would open 90% of the nation’s offshore reserves to development by private companies. Zinke has proposed 47 leases be offered from 2019-2024. Nineteen would be off Alaska. Twelve in the Gulf of Mexico. Nine in the Atlantic,  and seven in the Pacific including 6 off of California.

Zinke ended his telephone announcement, saying that it was still in the “drafting stage, nothing is final yet, and our department is continuing to engage the American people to get to our final product.”

Offshore Oil Drilling Plan Is Met With Stiff Opposition

While oil and gas industry spokesmen praised the announcement, which is the most expansive off shore drilling proposal in decades, the plan drew immediate opposition from governors up and down the East Coast, including Republican Governor’s Rick Scott of Florida and Larry Hogan of Maryland. Scott and Hogan went so far as to demand that their states be removed from consideration.

Democratic governors on both coasts blasted the plan. NY’s governor Cuomo called it “another federal assault on our environment.”  California’s Jerry Brown vowed to block “this reckless, short-sighted action.” Washington and Oregon governor’s both condemned the announced plan.

Third, and last hair on fire event for me was AG Jeff Sessions rescinding an Obama-era policy that had generally barred federal law enforcement officials from interfering with marijuana sales in states where the drug is legal.

AG Jeff Sessions Rescinds Obama Era Cannabis Policy

Sessions has assailed marijuana as “comparable to heroin” and has blamed it for spikes in violence, and had been expected to re-ignite federal enforcement of marijuana laws. Marijuana advocates argue that legalizing the drug eliminates the need for a black market and will likely reduce violence, since criminals would no longer control the marijuana trade.

Sessions has long believed that the Obama era treatment of marijuana has created “a safe harbor” for the expansion of marijuana sales that are federally illegal, the DOJ said. Sessions’ policy will let the U.S. attorneys across the country decide what kinds of federal resources to devote to cannabis enforcement based on what they see as priorities in their districts.

Sessions’ plan drew immediate and strong objection from Republican U.S. Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, one of eight states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Gardner claimed Thursday’s action by the DOJ was directly opposite of what Session’s had told him prior to the Attorney General’s confirmation. Gardner went on to say, he would “take all steps necessary to fight the step, including holding up the confirmation of DOJ nominees.”

Legal Marijuana Produces Big Dollars To State Governments Across The Country

Kate Brown the governor of my home state of  Oregon said rolling back federal marijuana policy will disrupt the state’s economy.  Oregon was a pioneer in cannabis legislation. Oregon was the first state to decriminalize personal possession in 1973, legalized medical marijuana in 1998 and finally recreational use in 2014.

Oregon collected more than $108 million in taxes from cannabis sales between January 2016 and August 2016. Brown said more than 19,000 jobs have been created by the marijuana market in Oregon. State employment estimates that another 3,500 people are employed in marijuana-related businesses, with wages of nearly $23 million. The Oregon Health Authority estimated that in 2016 they oversaw $79.4 million in medical sales and the OLCC (Oregon Liquor/Cannabis Control Commission) oversaw $215. 3 million in recreational sales.

Marijuana Boutique In Oregon

Ron Wyden, Oregon’s senior Senator said the move “ignores the will of a majority of Americans and goes against what candidate Trump had promised. Trump promised to let states set their own marijuana policies.” Wyden statement continued, “Now he’s breaking that promise so Jeff Sessions can pursue his extremist anti-marijuana crusade. Once again the Trump Administration is doubling down on protecting states’ rights only when they believe the state is right.”

Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee said he and the Washington State Attorney General will “vigorously defend the state’s laws against federal infringement.”

More Than Half Of The States Have Chosen To Legalize Cannabis In One Form Or Another

Session’s announcement came after California opened sales of recreational marijuana, launching what is expected to become the world’s largest market for legal recreational cannabis. California sales alone are projected to bring in $1 billion annually in tax revenue within the next several years.  Polls show a solid majority of Americans believe the drug should be legalized and should be treated much like alcohol.

Over the last decade as marijuana markets have expanded it has  become a sophisticated multi-million dollar industry that helps fund many government programs. Twenty nine states have legalized medical use of marijuana and another eight states plus the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use.

Oregon AG, Ellen Rosenblum characterizes the Session’s decision as “overreach.” “This is an industry that Oregonians have chosen–and one I will do everything in my legal authority to protect,” Rosenblum emphasized.

Two massive policy changes and an expose book on a corrupt and demented president. I don’t know if the Republic and tolerate the assault.

Calamity Politics is an online political news magazine. Join me for my mostly irritable take on the week’s news.

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Are Your Goals Getting In The Way Of Your Happiness?

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The other day, I was pawing through a box of books I had stored in the garage and was trying to decide if they were something I should drop off at The Salvation Army when I came upon Stephen Shapiro’s 2006 self-help gem, “Goal Free Living: How To Have The Life You Want Now.”  It has been at least a decade since I read the book, but as I flipped through the pages I remembered it distinctly, and thought it would be a great reminder to pass on to my Calamity Politics readers to help them enjoy a healthy, happy 2018.

Taking A Few Minutes To Re-Read Parts Of “Goal Free Living”

Shapiro is the first person that I can remember that gave me permission to release the religion of goal making that permeates our culture, and try to live without the restrictions  of a set of goals.

I have been told since I was a kid, that goals of all kinds, big, small, wildly ambitious were all within my reach. I just had to want them bad enough. The rule seemed to be,  if you can visualize it, you can have it; if you don’t know what you want  (can’t visualize it), you might as well be lost at sea without a life preserver.

Shapiro disputes this American myth.  In fact, Shapiro argues that if you want to be happy in its most broad interpretation, you need to throw that “five-year plan,” and the “life-time to do list,” into the garbage can.

Originally Shapiro was a motivational researcher.  While doing interviews with business leaders for a book he discovered that after interviewing 150 of the country’s most successful people and traveling over 12,ooo miles the most fulfilled people were also the most spontaneous,  and believe it or not, the least goal oriented. What?  How could that be true?  It goes against everything he, or I, have been taught.

Shapiro Traveled 12,000 Miles And Interviewed 150 Top Achievers

After interviewing those 150 successful people in all fields of enterprise, from all parts of the country, Shapiro discovered that most of the successful people had taken a circuitous route to their eventual success, and it seems that the circuitous trip was what made the result, all the more satisfying.

Shapiro became convinced that the key to happiness comes from checking out the back roads and detours, both literally and figuratively, without fear of changing course. Shapiro is convinced that following goals may lead a person to financial wealth, but there is a good chance that if you follow the plan unquestioningly you will lose yourself and potential happiness.

First, “Ask yourself, whose goal is it, anyway?” According to Shapiro, “Most people’s goals aren’t their own. They tend to be driven by society and family pressure.” Second, when you focus on a goal he believes, it is like putting on a pair of blinders, you lose your peripheral vision, causing you to miss out on all kinds of great opportunities. Third, you will always be living for the future.  You sacrifice today in the hopes that something wonderful will happen tomorrow. Goals are like that, you are always chasing them. Four, you are “courting failure” because you become attached to one outcome, and even if you achieve it, reality seldom matches the dream, and worse, it closes other doors to exploration and opportunity.

Shapiro Suggests We Use A Compass Not A Map To Get Us Where We Want To Be

But all this seems to go against every core principle that I have been taught since childhood.  How could all those books, seminars and teachers have been so wrong. I need those scraps of paper, those directions to success. I need my goals.  Or, do I? How can I achieve anything if I don’t have a goal, no matter how much fun wandering around in the wilderness having great moments may sound?

Shapiro counters with, “Goal-free living isn’t about aimless, or things are getting tough” and I’m going to bail out, but rather it is about “being passion-driven in the moment, while knowing you can change course.” It is also about “getting out, playing, and trying lots of new and different things.”

The central message here is that you can’t find out what you love by just sitting around thinking about it, you must get out and experience it.

I am a goal-aholic, I can’t just toss away all my goals. Or, can I? I think Shapiro is saying “do you have the right goals and are you relating to them the right way?”  Shapiro believes some people abuse goals, “as a way of escaping from being present in the here and now. They distract themselves by looking ahead. Life should be more into enjoying every single moment for what it is and allowing things to unfold.”

Hmmm, maybe I can do this.

I  have been an RN for nearly 4 decades and one of the foundations of nursing is the Nursing Care Plan. The care plan for a patient provides direction and continuity of  care. That mind-set is hard to just sweep away. However, I can see where a care plan to direct the care of a patient over a short-term period is not the same as the life time goal setting we do for ourselves. But, initially that professional methodology got in the way of me spreading my wings, and in fact still does in many ways. I wish I were better at this discarding everything I know.

A Nursing Care Plan Is A Short Goal Plan

Shapiro wants us to think about aspirations (working in government) versus goals such as (getting elected to congress on November 8th, 2018) because  a broader aspiration will give you pleasure today and “success” becomes more broadly defined.  The biggest complaint he has is with the institutionalization of SMART goals. In other words, Specific, Measurable, Achievable,  Results Oriented, and Time based. Sounds very similar to a Nursing Care Plan.  The idea that you will know right away whether you’ve succeeded or failed is misguided and crippling.

The cure to the pain of a failed goal is to step back and ask yourself whether you defined the desired outcome too narrowly and whether you tried to control the uncontrollable.  Shapiro reminds us, “Not only have you set yourself up for failure, but you’ve put a time limit on everything. Life is unpredictable, so give up control. Create many paths. And play hard.”

Above all, trash the idea that if you don’t succeed by Saturday morning at 11:30 you are a failure. Shapiro proclaims, “I’m not going to be done with what I’m doing till I’m dead. It is really about applying creativity to every aspect of your life.”

I  like that, “applying creativity.”

Don’t Be Afraid To Take A Detour

Shapiro’s eight guide posts for living a Goal-Free Life:

1.) Use a compass, not a map. Allow yourself to take the less traveled path, allow yourself to try new things.

2.) Trust that you are never lost–every seemingly wrong turn is an opportunity to learn and experience new things.

3.) Remember that opportunity knocks often, sometimes softly–while we are blindly pursuing our goals. Sadly, we often miss unexpected and wonderful potentials.

4.) Want what you have. Measure your life with your own ruler. Appreciate who you are, what you do, and what you have, now.

5.) Seek adventure-treat your life as the one time only journey it is, and revel in new and different experiences.

6.) Learn to be a people magnet. Constantly seek, build and nurture relationships with new people gaining support and comradeship of others.

Keep Up Relationships–Be A People Magnet

7.) Embrace your limits. Transform your shortcomings and perceived inadequacies into unique qualities that you can use to your advantage.

8.) Remain detached. Focus on the immediate. Act with a commitment to the future and stop fretting about how things will turn out.

I think Shapiro was on to something.  I think he is right. Goals are by their very nature, self limiting. So, with 2018 just hours away I am giving you permission to toss that goal list  and start living life.

Calamity Politics is a political news magazine with a Progressive agenda.  Join us for comment and opinion. Join the Resistance.



10 Terrible Environmental Choices Of 2017

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Greenpeace took a look at the actions of the Trump Administration in 2017 and listed the following as just plain terrible.

Whale Entangled In Fishing Net Leading To It’s Death

1.)Canceled rule to protect whales from fishing nets.
2.)Ordered review of National Monuments. *The recommendations from Ryan Zinke are hair-raising and I will discuss them in another post.*
3.)Revoked rule preventing coal mining companies from dumping in local streams.
4.)Rejected ban on potentially harmful insecticide which has been linked to lower IQ’s in children and colony collapse in bees.
5.)Overturned ban on hunting predators in the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, allowing road building and the Tax bill opens 1.5 million acres to oil drilling.
6.)Withdrew guidance for federal agencies to include greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews.
7.)Ordered review and “elimination” of rule protecting tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.
8.)Rolled back limits on toxic discharge from power plants into public waterways.
9.)Roll back provisions of the Clean Power Plan with goal to repeal the Obama-era regulations many of which have been slashed by Trump agency heads.
10.)Delayed rule aiming to increase safety at facilities that use hazardous chemicals.

Regulations serve an important purpose, they save lives, they save wildlife, they save the water we drink, they save the air we breath. The damage that the Trump Administration is doing cannot be emphasized enough. The risks to our environment are terrifying. Keep your eyes open, they have a lot more damage and chaos on their agenda.

Calamity Politics is an on-line political news magazine with a Progressive Agenda. Join the Resistance.



The Stability Of U.S. Food Supply In Danger

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Bees Pollinate Over 33% Of The Food We Eat

In a 12 month period from April 2014-2015 the honey bee colonies in the United States decreased by more than 40%, the highest annual loss ever recorded. The massive losses compelled researchers to coin a new term to describe the problem. They named the massive losses as “colony collapse disorder.”

With over 40% of U.S. honeybee hives now dying each year it is important to note that 40% of invertebrate pollinator species according to a recent UN sponsored report face extinction. Bees and butterflies are now approaching the brink.If you add that, “one of every three bites of food that you and I eat is pollinated by bees and other pollinators,” warns Friends of Earth, an environmental action group struggling to save the bees, the calamity of the situation is front and center. Seeing the bee die-off as part of a larger insect decline cannot be overstated. A group of UK scientists are calling it an “ecological Armageddon.”

Do the math, it doesn’t require a genius IQ to see the threat. Earthjustice a legal fund fighting for bee protection, believes that, “Bees are the canaries in the coal mine, warning us of an imminent and frightening threat to our food.” Our time is limited if we are going to save the bees and ourselves.

Beekeepers & Scientists Are Sounding The Alarm

The stability of the supply is facing imminent threat.

As previously noted, Honey bees, vital pollinators of more than one-third of our nation’s crops, including “super foods” such as berries, nuts and avocados are dying in record numbers. The rapid loss of honey bees threatens to unravel agricultural production all across the country.

What was a battle between big business and the environmental community within the state and federal court system has intensified since the election of Donald Trump. Trump and his Republican allies in Congress and his cronies in the corporate sector intend to dismantle long-established safeguards created to protect food safety, farm workers and the overall public health.

The Current Administration Is Devoted To Preventing Restrictions On Neonics

Today, with possibly the most anti-environmental administration and Congress in history we are facing a difficult challenge to enact regulations surrounding toxic chemicals and pesticides needed to protect the pollinators, and human beings.  I am hoping for a Democratic tsunami for 2018, otherwise I have little hope for the survival of the bees, or the nation’s safe food supply.

The fight for the future of the honey bees–America’s greatest pollinator–and for the future of our nation’s food security and public health in general is a fight we cannot lose. Honey bees are the unsung heroes of American agricultural productivity, working diligently to pollinate no less than 1/3 of U.S. agricultural crops. It is time that we recognize their hard work and make it our mission to insure their safety and recovery.

Half Of The Produce In Your Local Market Will Disappear If The Bees Disappear

Scientists world-wide after analyzing more that 800 environmental studies determined that the major cause of the bee die offs can be directly attributed to a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, or “neonics” for short. These chemicals in even microscopic doses can harm a bee.

Repeated exposure to neonic pesticides start to change a bee’s life and later the entire hive. Science has tracked a number of different outcomes after exposure. 1.) Illness and Death: Neonics make it hard for bees to groom themselves, making them susceptible to disease and mites, and weakening their immune systems. 2.) Colony Contamination:If a bee is able to return to the hive, they return covered in contaminated pollen. As other bees store the pollen, they all become contaminated 3.) Lost and confused: Neonics affect bees’ ability to navigate back to their hives. Unable to find their way home, they die. Worker bees supply the colony’s food. When they are lost and don’t return, the entire colony can die from starvation.

These “neonics” are systemic chemicals. That means that the pesticide is absorbed into every part of the plant. As a result, it not only kills insects that come into direct contact with its droplets, but renders the entire plant–flowers, nectar, and pollen–highly toxic for weeks, or even months after application.

Neonics are approved for use on the majority of crops in the United States. The bee die off has spiked and has so disturbed scientists that the US Dept of Agriculture issued the following statement:

“Currently, the survivorship of honey bee colonies is too low for us to be confident in our ability to meet the pollination demands of US agricultural crops.”

Although bans in other countries have been successful–Italy went from losing 37.5% of its hives in 2008 to only 15% after restricting neonics–the US has been frighteningly slow to act. And, with an EPA administration and Congress stocked with Trump’s corporate cronies, it is even less likely that our government will act to regulate bee-killing pesticides.

Honey bees may be small, but they play a huge role in making food available for our tables. Bees have an electromagnetic charge that turns them into flying magnets, carrying and transferring pollen from flower to flower. It takes 60,000 bees, about two hives, to pollinate just one acre of orchard. Each spring across the United States honey bees pollinate almonds, apples, oranges, apricots, lemons, squash, zucchini and dozens of other fruits and vegetables a truly amazing accomplishment.

Orchards and Field Crops Depend On Bees

Whole Foods working with Time magazine showed that honey bees are of vital importance to the nation’s food security by dramatically removing all the produce that depends on bee pollination from their produce shelves for a photo-op to dramatize the impending loss. Of the about 450 items usually found in the average American supermarket half will disappear if America’s crops don’t get pollinated. That realization is a serious threat to the nation’s ability to produce food, as well as to our food security. This is really scary stuff.

The largest producers of these pesticides are Bayer, Dow, Monsanto and Syngenta, whose own studies–obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request–show that neonics cause significant harm to bees and other pollinators. A study commissioned by The European Food Safety Authority indicated that the same class of pesticides killing the pollinators “may affect the developing nervous system of children.” If you weren’t scared before, this should light your hair on fire.

There are more than 500 neonic products on the market. I don’t expect the Trump administration to take any action that will help native bees, bumblebees, butterflies or other pollinators, like the nearly extinct rusty patched bumblebee, which was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act last year.

Butterflies Are Another Endangered Species That Pollinate Plants

As the fight to save the bees intensifies another neurotoxic insecticide is coming under scrutiny. Chlorpyrifos, commonly used in agriculture has been shown in EPA studies to lower children’s IQ’s and is “likely to adversely affect” over 1700 plants and animals, many of them critically endangered, including bees.

Because of such scientific studies, chlorpyrifos were banned for home use in 2001, and in 2015 the Obama administration recommended revoking its use in agriculture. As soon as Scott Pruitt took charge of the EPA, he announced he would reverse the Obama-era ban.

Scott Pruitt Trump’s EPA Head Has Vowed To Dismantle the Agency

The fight to save the bees is becoming more urgent by the day. Remember, bees and other pollinators are critical in growing 2/3rd of our global food crops.  From nuts, soybeans, squash and cucumbers, to apples, oranges, avocados and melons, pollinators play a critical role in producing the food we eat. Bees are the tiny forces behind more than $20 billion worth of U.S. crops each year.

Five Ways To Help Save The Bees and other pollinators:

BEE SAFE: Plant flowers such as Aster, Black-eyed Susan, Oregon Grape, Snowberry, Wild Lilac, Huckleberry, and Lupine in your garden using only organic starts or untreated seeds to provide good food and a safe haven for bees. **(One study found many of the so-called “bee friendly” plants in garden centers have been pre-treated with neonics, at levels that can harm or kill bees. Please only buy certified organic plants and reject garden products laced with bee killing pesticides.)

Plant Only Certified Organic Flowers & Plants For Bee Safe Garden

BEE AWARE: Use alternative pest control methods, like landscaping to attract beneficial insects, and use only eco-friendly pest-control products.

BEE VIGILANT: Read labels and steer clear of products containing neonicatinoids or chlorpyrifos. **(A list of the common brands containing neonics can be found at the end of this article.)

BEE VOCAL: Tell you friends and family about the importance of bees and how they can help save these invaluable insects.

BEE ACTIVIST: Write your legislators, state and federal. Write the EPA. Sign Petitions demanding protection for the pollinators. Ask your grocer to stop carrying products containing neonicolinoids and chlopyrifos. Protest.

BEE GENEROUS: The cost of fighting the assault on bees and our food supply is expensive. Donate to organizations like Friends of the Earth and Earthjustice to be our voice in the courtroom.

It Takes lots of Money To Take On The Big Chemical Companies

This is going to be an uphill battle for the next three years of Trumpism, but we can’t stand by and let Donald Trump think for one minute that we as a people will stand by and let him get away with destroying the environment all in the name of corporate greed.

In 1962 Rachel Carson wrote a meticulously researched book, “The Silent Spring” in which she described how, the now banned pesticide DDT, entered the food chain and accumulated in fatty tissues of animals and humans. She took on the chemical industry and her work led to DDT being banned. Her work has been credited with starting the environmental movement. We need to understand that each of us can make a difference in this world, but it requires action. It is up to us to stop the second “silent spring.”

I challenge you to make a copy of this list of killers and put it in your wallet, or your purse and use it to say “no”  to products laced with Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid, Thiamethoxam all of which are toxins killing bees. If you see any of these ingredients listed on products in your home or on your local vendor’s shelves do not use them.

It seems nearly impossible to imagine but neonics hide everywhere including in these popular brands: Aloft, Arena, Allectus, Atera, Bithor, Caravan, Coretect, Derby, Dino, Dominion, Equil Adonis, Flagship, Flower (Rose & Shrub Care), Gaucho, Grub-No-More, Grubout, Hawk, Imaxxpro, Ima-Jet, Imi Insecticide, Imicide, Imid-Bifen, Imida-Teb Garden SC, Imidapro, Imigold, Lada, Malice, Mallet, Mantra, Marathon, Meridian, Merit, Nuprid, Optigard Flex, Pasada, Pointer Insecticide, Premise, Pronto, Prothor, Safari, Sagacity, Sparkle:Bounty, Tandem, Temprid, Triple Crown Insecticide, Tristar, Turfthor, Xytect.

Calamity Politics is an on-line political news magazine dedicated to protecting the environment and removing Donald Trump from the presidency of the United States. Join us for comment and opinion. Join the Resistance. We are Indivisible.



Another Holiday Survival Plan

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Surviving Christmas Requires Forethought

If you are becoming anxious about Christmas, you are not alone. The holiday season is a difficult time for many people. If you have mounting angst about Christmas and New Year’s I have gathered some tips to help you survive the season.

Most experts warn us not to make comparisons. Do not compare your life to a Hallmark movie. Life is what it is. We can enjoy the reality if we leave expectations behind. Expectations are often the basis of many unhappy holidays. Accepting life for what it is, and not allowing the fantasy world of social marketing and Hollywood to alter our reality. If you can escape the expectations you will have taken the first step to improve your holiday experience.

1.)How can I Limit self-criticism? Try a dose of self-compassion. What is self compassion? Self compassion is a combination of recognizing that all humans make mistakes and that life is not a script and life experience is often unfair, flawed and imperfect. If you accept that reality up front it may lessen those awkward or frustrating moments when a family member makes a painful, or thoughtless comment.

Hurt Or Angry Feelings Have Disrupted Many Holiday Celebrations

2.)Hurt or angry feelings? Do not engage. Walk away. Take a short drive. A few minutes at a local park or nearby viewpoint can do wonders. I live at the Oregon coast and am just a few minutes from staggeringly beautiful viewpoints. Watching the crashing waves as they slam against the shore and then float away can help calm anger. Or, get physical. Go bowl a couple of lines, the physical sensation of throwing something heavy and head shaped down a long wooden alley may be all you need to restore your emotional equilibrium. **In 4th century Germany bowling was viewed as a cleansing ritual to remove the participant of sin. In 16th century England commoners were prohibited from bowling except on Christmas. So, combining the two you may find a recipe for holiday relief**.

3.) How to avoid an awkward situations? Excuse yourself and take a walk. Exercise is proven to reduce anxiety and depression. If it is a situation requiring more than a short walk put on your sneakers and take a run.

4.)Feeling Tired? Excuse yourself and take a nap. Sleep is important. Taking a nap is good self-care and is regenerative. Being well rested has a significant impact on our sense of well-being and sense of happiness.

Sometimes Taking A Nap Is The Best Response

5.)Feeling Cranky? Sometimes our body tries to send us messages, but we have lost touch with its clues. Frequently, irritability is triggered by thirst. Go for the water. Re-hydrate and see if your mood isn’t improved.

6.)If you are challenged on your politics? Let it go. Change the subject, or exit gracefully from the conversation. From personal experience I have learned that the holidays are not the best time to work out relationship problems. The holidays are too emotionally charged to choose it as a time to resolve conflict. In fact, it is probably time to recognize that we can’t change people, especially those in our family, so don’t even try.

7.)Need to escape? You are trapped, without a car, or for other reasons can’t leave. Try headphones and escape, or, take a luxury bath, or start reading that book that has sat next to your bed.

If You Can’t Escape The House Take A Bath Break

8.)No gift? It all depends on the situation. I suggest that you buy several bottles of moderately priced wine at the beginning of the holiday season and put each of them in dressy wine sacks and if you have a surprise guest that drops by a gift, you are always ready. What you don’t give away you can always drink yourself. If you are away from home and are given an unexpected gift and have nothing to offer in return, be gracious and appreciative, you can always follow-up with a gift or a card later.

9.)Feeling offended? Meditate. Take a break from your incessant mind chatter.

10.)Feeling lonely? Get outside yourself. Go volunteer. Connect. Give a hand to people who are struggling.

Feeling Lonely? Volunteer.

11.)Feeling sad? Make a list of your blessings. Practice gratitude.

Yale University researchers discovered that friends influence your happiness, and vice versa. So, it sounds like we are responsible for the company we keep. Surround yourself with happy people as much as possible.

Remember, if you are experiencing an especially bad time, please call for help. Lines for Life hotline is there 24/7 at 1-800-273-8522.

Calamity Politics is a Progressive on-line news magazine offering irritable comment on the current administration. Join the Resistance.

Merry Christmas,



10 Plus 1, Election Night “Ratherisms”

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Election Night Ups & Downs

About three months ago I was wandering around a second hand bookstore in Seaside, Oregon when I came across a a book that I instantly loved; “Uncle John’s FAST-ACTING LONG LASTING Bathroom Reader.” The reader is published by Bathroom Readers’ Press, Ashland, OR. I bought the book, the 18th edition, and brought it home and it now has a small shrine on the counter next to the toilet in the master bath. The following quotes are from that book.

Television news anchor Dan Rather is known for his reserve and professional presentation of world news. But apparently, old Dan had a habit of dropping some pretty funny ad-libs now and then, especially during election night coverage. Check out the following election night “Ratherisms.”

Dan Rather Is A Well Known Broadcaster & Humorist

1.) “This race is hotter than a Times Square Rolex.”
2.) “Bush is sweeping through the South like a big wheel through a cotton field.”
3.) “In the southern states, Bush beat Kerry like a rented mule.”
4.) “His lead is as thin as turnip soup.”
5.) “The re-election of Bill Clinton is as secure as a double-knot tied in wet rawhide.”
6.) “The returns are running like a squirrel in a cage.”
7.) “He’s sweeping through the South like a tornado through a trailer park.”
8.) “This race is spandex-tight.”
9.) “This race is shakier than cafeteria Jell-O.”
10.) “His lead is as thin as November ice.”
11.) “This race is as tight as the rusted lug nuts on a 1955 Ford.”

Hope Dan gave you a couple chuckles. Thanks again, Uncle John for tracking down this sort of thing.

Calamity Politics is a Progressive on-line news magazine. Join us as we look at the good, the bad, the planned and unplanned that is Washington, DC. Join the Resistance.



Yuletide Poem

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A Twitter friend, @ArcturusOrdo sent me the following image and poem from his 4th book, “Yuletide Sequence”.







Poems are a still

golden mirror

of soul shining

glimpsed in quiet

solitude shared

as words

trailing softly

on the white

page like snow

falling through

Yuletide sunrise.

Calamity Politics is a Progressive on-line news magazine focusing on the Washington DC nightmare with caustic comment and mildly jaundiced opinion. Join the Resistance.