Friday, January 27, 2017

It's All about the Greedy

Not gonna deny it. I am sitting in my office weeping.  Thinking about disabled kids and their
caretakers. Trying to understand why people support such cowards.

Add the imminent repeal of the Affordable Care Act  to cutting SSI (Supplemental Social Income)  and this pathetic President might as well write another infamous executive order announcing death sentences to millions of helpless patients.  The impact will be brutal.

I realize this administration values profit more than people.  I realize the rich are often out of touch with everyday people.  It seems the President is more obsessed with himself than with common people. That doesn’t give greedy politicians the right to cause suffering.  Taking vital services from the neediest, most vulnerable   Americans  is shameful.

Personal experience

From a personal perspective, I know all about the cruelty of government greed. I put myself through college, got a job as a teacher, earned measly money but had great insurance.  With a disabled daughter, insurance was a big relief. That was way back when I was so na├»ve I thought the insurance company was trying to help me.

When I planned to relocate for a better position, insurance was a problem.  If I took a job offering anything other than good old blue insurance, my disabled daughter wouldn’t be covered.   Pre-existing condition.  I found another school with the infamous blue company. Then, a few years later when she turned 18, the good old blue cut her from my insurance plan.  All kinds of drama and trauma.

Her prescriptions cost more than my monthly check.  In an effort to get paid, a clinic receptionist told me about the SSI program.  I don’t know how my daughter could have survived without SSI.  And Medicaid. Long story.

Incompetent Greedy Politicians

I was gullible about insurance. But, the politicians had no clue about the programs.  The hypocritical asses sent me a note stating SSI would be cut to encourage me to get a job.  What a bunch of clowns.
One look at the application: Single mother.  As dense as they often are, the staff assumed I wasn’t working because I was a single mom.  I don’t think they enjoyed my call suggesting they do their jobs instead of me proving mine. 

The rationale of caretakers collecting SSI to get out of working shows the stupidity of those suggesting the cuts. Another ridiculous observation, “SSI imposes no work requirements on parents and does not explicitly limit how long they may receive benefits as long as the child remains medically and financially eligible." They need to look up the definition of ‘disabled’. 

Politicians Should Represent Us

If you are a parent of a disabled child the level of care can be overwhelming.  Many children with disabilities require special care often provided by a parent. Many of the disabled were born with a condition lasting a lifetime. The idea of kicking a child off insurance with a permanent disability due to a time limit is inhumane. 

The $600 (approximate) used for treatments, equipment, prescriptions, doesn’t allow a caretaker to lounge at home.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the politicians willing to cut SSI don’t appreciate the challenge of caring for a child with special needs.  In order to receive SSI children “must have marked and severe functional limitations.”  Politicians have been willing to put mentally ill and disabled adults on the street. I am hoping they’re not so addicted to money they do the same to a child.

SSI hasn’t been chopped yet.  If enough people call their representatives and tell them not to touch SSI, there’s a chance they will listen.  At the very least we need to expose the greed of the rich and their inability to do the right thing.
Trump and friends are seriously considering cutting SSI.  They won't consider holding back on tax breaks for the wealthy.  It’s what’s important to them.  Money.  With over 60% of Americans saying the wealthy should pay more taxes, they’re not listening. It’s not an option.

Remind Congress of their job description.  They seem to have forgotten who they represent. Politicians represent the highest bidder.  It’s time for them to represent voters. Otherwise, we are reliving the taxation without representation era.

Congress contacts are listed here:
Millions in New York offer to pay higher taxes

Monday, November 17, 2014

Power of propaganda, prayers and politics

In response to Sunday Morning Commentary by Steven Levy on CBS Nov. 16, 2014 
(posted at the end of this article)

God is not suppressed in school. Kids can pray whenever they want. We don't promote Christianity in schools because in this country we have freedom of religion. Contrary to the beliefs of many, that does not mean anyone is free to become a Christian. Students in public schools belong to all kinds of faiths - not just Christianity.
In my classrooms I taught kids who believed in Islam, Buddhism, in God, Satan, and Judaism. All of those children were free to silently pray whenever they wanted. Any of them could read religious books during reading time. We celebrated diversity. We respected different religions.

Let's put the blame of out of control kids where it tends to belong-bad parenting skills. Religion in school has nothing to do with it.
  • Parents who don't parent
Children reflect the values of their parents. Violent parents who slap their kids around are producing violent kids who take out aggression on others. You don't have to cause pain for children to act appropriately.

It's called taking time to communicate. Let your kids know what you expect and why. Tell them you're proud when they do something right instead of yelling when they do something wrong. It's called modeling. Give respect to get respect.

My kids were far from perfect but they knew how to treat others, never to bully anyone, never to make fun of those less fortunate or to ever think they were better than people who were different. Lots and lots of former students were already damaged because parents embedded hate and modeled discrimination. Kids are not killing people or spewing hate on the Internet because we don't have 'God in schools'.

It's because too many parents plopped their kids in front of the TV as the main babysitter. 

It's because too many kids see violence at home, see men hitting women and parents hitting kids.
It's because of mental illness, nightmares and fear. And we look the other way.

The father who says his kids respect him because he whipped them with a belt - doubtful. His kids were probably afraid of him. Big difference.
You earn respect. You can't demand it. Kids who get hit learn that hitting is the way to solve problems. They often feel they can't ask about personal problems or confide in parents they fear.

School shooters? Because God is not in school? You must be kidding.

First, most of these kids got guns from parents. People who own guns should be responsible and keep them locked up. If kids don't have access to guns, they can't shoot people. When a gun is used to shoot a room full of students, the gun owner should be charged for allowing a deadly weapon into the hands of an unstable child. If you can afford guns you can afford a gun safe. Lock it.

  • Ronald Reagan picks special interest groups over mentally ill

Second, there is a huge problem with lack of service and insufficient facilities for the mentally ill. The problem exists in schools and in general society. When President Reagan de-institutionalized the mentally ill he pleased special interest groups by saving  money previously spent on shelter for the mentally ill incapable of caring for themselves. While his rich buddies cheered his cutting of  the 'welfare state', they ignored his cutting of the safety net.  

Actions have consequences. One consequence was earning more money for special interests. Another consequence was to literally place vulnerable citizens unable to care for themselves out of the street. 

Reagan's actions caused a huge influx to the homeless population. Mentally ill patients with no family ended up on the streets or in jail.  Many veterans suffering from mental illnesses (caused by fighting for our country) and kids timing out of foster care ended up homeless. Due to taking from the needy and giving tax breaks to the upper end of the tax bracket, groups homes closed down or reduced the number of  available beds due to budget cuts. Reagan's action caused a vast number of our neediest citizens to suffer in the name of saving dollars.
As mental facilities became more scarce, instead of shifting money for treatment or shelter for those who couldn't care for themselves, the wealthy seemed committed to greed and the rest of us looked the other way. Again. 
The deplorable action in dealing with the large number of homeless people in overwhelmed communities seeks out victims to victimize them further.
Private homes, boarding houses, and people unqualified to care for the mentally ill took advantage of them. Many ended up in jail.
Cities made it a a crime to lay on a park bench, sleep on the beach or feed a hungry person. Instead of helping those with mental illness we treated them like unwanted animals or moochers and lazy bums who needed to get a job. 
Most cities dismissed the inhumane treatment. As long as they could rid their towns of these social deviants, it didn't matter what happened to them. Chronically ill patients were handed a week's worth of meds and a one-way bus ticket to another city. Problem solved. Those who survived and were physically able to express themselves probably felt angry and frustrated.  We pretended it was okay and ignored the consequences of such cruelty.
Public schools were short-changed for years. Unable to provide proper testing to get treatment for at risk kids with mental problems, the neediest children tended to get in trouble for acting out. They'd be teased and bullied for their odd behavior. We shook our heads at those 'odd' kids who got bullied. Then the wrath of the consequences of untreated mental illness got too big to ignore. They started shooting.
Once again, the government saved money at the expense of children in desperate need of services. If we actually helped these kids and provided appropriate services in schools, some would have a chance to live a normal life. Many innocent lives could have been saved if kids received professional help. Maybe. Too many long lists of referrals for testing, therapy, counseling- sat on desks or stalled in budget talks. 
The problem just gets worse. Congress continues to cut human services. But, mental illness doesn't go away.  It seems many politicians want public schools to fail. Why? To make money, of course. Privatize. No regulations. More dirty money.
They useless cry for putting God in school has nothing to do with the reality of violence boiling over from raging mental illness. Our choices, our priorities, our willingness to ignore the needs of children-that's what contributed to school violence.

  • Expecting filet mignon at hot dog prices

When I started teaching 25 years ago we didn't have the same kind of problems we have in today's schools. We also didn't have 'God' in public school. What we did have was parental support, parents involved in their kid's lives, a reasonable number of students in each class, sufficient planning time and the tools needed to do our job. We focused on teaching instead of jumping through hoops, wasting time giving worthless tests, following ridiculous impossible mandates like No Child Left Behind.

When I left teaching a few years ago, I had so many students in each class I'd decide each week which class I'd babysit instead of teach. They got rote drills, worksheets and worthless material or a film related to content. It's the way I handled too many students. Every week I'd rotate a class to simply exist so I could do lesson planning, correct papers, give kids feedback and work one on one. Like many teachers, I still worked 2-3 hours on school work when I got home.
The pay didn't keep up with inflation and expenses got higher. Again, like many others, I've paid my share of school lunches, purchased food to send home with kids who had none, drove homeless students to food pantries, paid for bus fares, got second hand coats- all the 'extras' many teachers do to help kids survive. 
When you care about kids you deal with the reality that too many go without basic needs. Too many are neglected. The saddest part is knowing there are so many needy children who don't get any help. I'm pretty sure that 'God in schools' isn't going to provide housing, clothes and food for needy children. Again, these kids suffer because of adult choices. We make the decisions not to fund vital services or to cut nutrition programs. Children suffer the consequences of that greed.
If only the 'OMG teachers are so overpaid and get summers off' complainers would step in front of 35 high school kids and successfully run the class - as in keep discipline under control, get kids to participate and interact and be engaged in learning and see the relevance in content, THEN those anti-teacher people can talk about how 'easy' teaching is. (Repeat that class 7 times a day for 3-4 different preps). 
When I left teaching I worked with about 225 kids each day. God in school or not, trying to reach 225 children each day, correct their work, provide feedback, give individual instruction, and keep all of them on task? Umm, no.

As I recall in 25 years I think I had 2 summers off. I either had to work another job or take classes to renew certification to meet other requirements.  Yet, the same people who preach about our 'out of control kids' are often the ones who support cutting funds for education, refuse to pay teachers what they deserve and send their kids to parochial school or home school.  There are some great teachers in public schools but they aren't miracle workers or magicians.
Sure, there is much more to the problems with youth in society than the few I mentioned. But, guess what? Trying to blame the problems in society on not having God in schools is just another way to misuse religion. It is an excuse. It's like citing a Bible verse as proof when you can find another verse supporting the opposite view. The Bible is not literal. Unless we still stone women for adultery or force widowed wives to serve their husband's brother, or any number of archaic messages, we need to realize times have changed.
By the way, I am a Christian. No one has EVER pushed me around for believing in God. Instead of blaming issues on others, we should realize our personal choices play a big role in consequences.
This particular rant reflects my frustration with those who try to simplify a complex issue, place blame on others or hide behind religion.
Violating the rules of logic and simply spewing out information with no objective facts is the trademark of the Fox News brand. The Sunday Morning Commentary sounds like the propaganda churned out by Fox News. It is an effective technique. If you use all the key words to appeal to emotion, you can get readers all riled up before they have the chance to realize there is no substance in the claims.
Yes, commentary is opinion. But, it still should make sense. This is crazy talk! IMO, instead of harping on the empty plan of putting God back in schools - whatever that means, let's start using some common sense.  There are many reasons for all the evil in society, the old God in schools claim is not one of them.
Oh hell. We all know who is to blame.  Thanks, Obama.

The following was written by Steven Levy and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:
 I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat...
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
In light of recent events... Terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school... The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Steven Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about.. And we said okay..
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.--end of commentary

What a pile of illogical nonsense filled with emotional key words. Sure, when someone said 'you better not read the Bible, all Christians ran and hid their Bibles, right? NOT. I don't know anyone like these 'people' to whom you refer. Whatever anyone was told to do they responded with okay?!
Our kids have no conscience because we didn't slap them around? That makes as much sense as Pat Robertson's claims that feminism turns women into lesbians who leave their husbands and kill their children - or something that cray-cray. Crazy talk.
What ever happened to common sense? You know what happened: Like, Charles Manson said go and kill your classmates and strangers so we said 'okay'. And stuff. Unbelievable crap all shoved in a sack with a cross glued on top.

"We believe what the newspapers say but question what the Bible says." WTH are you talking about? And who? I believe some of what I read by credentialed journalists because their work is based on research and fact. I don't believe fake news shows like Fox News because it is propaganda more than news (fact checks show over half is not true).

Question the Bible? I would hope anything a person reads causes thinking and questioning. Otherwise we're a flock of sheep with no minds of our own. The Bible was literally written by the hand of men. It was roughly translated from difficult to understand archaic languages. Words and syllables were misinterpreted. Every translation caused more input from man.
IMO, the Bible is a piece of work paraphrased from stories of God. It certainly isn't literal. Yet, too many use it as an excuse to beat children, hate certain social groups while they completely ignore the model Jesus gave us.
Feed the hungry, help those in need, give to the poor, money is evil. Sure. Evidently the extremists who cherry pick Bible verses must have skipped over those pages. And, the ones about killing those who participate in sex outside of marriage. So ridiculous.

From a logical standpoint, your essay is filled with mistakes. As most people learned in junior high, when the fallacies or reasoning and flaws in logic are used in arguments, the speaker is usually emotional and not being fair. Look up a few definitions like begging the question, circular reasoning, false analogy, slippery slope, and the others.