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Just wanted to tell everyone about my recent trip to Palestine.......
Chloe LouiseJust suggesting everyone might want to think two times about Israel and Palestine. I have been following the situation over there for several years and I finally went there to try and better understand some of the problems. right now many Palestinians are suffering a lack of water and a shortage of electricity due to the rules and regulations of the settlements. The people there were so lovely and hospitable and touring the holy sites was amazing. I feel so lucky I got to see the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. We stayed at wonderful and fancy resorts and the food was delicious. The name of our group was Bike Palestine. I would recommend it to anyone. Check out J street for more information on the political front. They will have a special talk this week on the electricity. Palestine is beautiful and the people are very nice. I hope we can find an answer for the unrest soon that will suit both sides. I do believe Roger is interested in human rights.
If I had to think about myself one more time, I was going to rip my skin off and throw it into a fire.
All day, every day: My life was too much about me. Hey, I love myself, but after a lifetime of ME, I started to get really sick of thinking of myself, and I started to feel beyond the scope of self-centered. I needed something else to focus on and care for, or I was going to drive myself crazy.
Then came Wacha. I had been thinking about adopting a dog for a while, and thank God I did. Wacha has completely changed my world. There were the regular things you’d expect to change when you first get a dog, but I wasn’t expecting Wacha to open up my heart.
After rescuing Wacha from a shelter in West Virginia, I couldn’t help but think about all the other adorable dogs who also needed a forever home. I knew I had to do something, and that’s when Wacha changed my life again.
While researching how I could help other dogs like Wacha, I came across the Purina ONE Difference Initiative — Purina ONE’s effort to prove how a single, small change can make a huge impact in the life of a dog. Having grown up in St. Louis, I was aware of Purina, which is based in the city, so I immediately wondered, “Is it possible that these were my worlds colliding in a way that would help cynical Andy do something … good?”
When I started working with Purina ONE, Wacha was in the middle of taking the Purina ONE 28 Day Challenge launching in partnership with Mutt-i-grees, a K-12 curriculum that brings shelter dogs to the classroom to teach students lessons on emotional competence and social awareness. Wacha and I joined Mutt-i-grees and started to go to N.Y.C. classrooms to teach these important lessons to students.
The first time Wacha and I taught a Mutt-i-grees class together, I was a little skeptical about how he would react to a classroom full of kids, but he loved it as much as they did. Their eyes lit up the minute Wacha walked into the room. It is incredible to see how these kids respond when a dog is in the room – it’s almost like they don’t want to let the dog down. So cute!
I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to give back than with Wacha. Not only do we help impact the lives of shelter dogs, who often get adopted through this program, but we impact the lives of kids.
You know the old adage about who saves whom? I knew when I rescued Wacha I was saving him, but didn’t know just how much he’d be saving me. He’s completely enriched my life and helped me give back in ways I didn’t think possible.
The basics of Republican health legislation, which haven’t changed much in different iterations of Trumpcare, are easy to describe: Take health insurance away from tens of millions, make it much worse and far more expensive for millions more, and use the money thus saved to cut taxes on the wealthy.
Donald Trump may not get this — reporting by The Times and others, combined with his own tweets, suggests that he has no idea what’s in his party’s legislation. But everyone in Congress understands what it’s all about.
The puzzle — and it is a puzzle, even for those who have long since concluded that something is terribly wrong with the modern G.O.P. — is why the party is pushing this harsh, morally indefensible agenda.
Think about it. Losing health coverage is a nightmare, especially if you’re older, have health problems and/or lack the financial resources to cope if illness strikes. And since Americans with those characteristics are precisely the people this legislation effectively targets, tens of millions would soon find themselves living this nightmare.
Meanwhile, taxes that fall mainly on a tiny, wealthy minority would be reduced or eliminated. These cuts would be big in dollar terms, but because the rich are already so rich, the savings would make very little difference to their lives.
More than 40 percent of the Senate bill’s tax cuts would go to people with annual incomes over $1 million — but even these lucky few would see their after-tax income rise only by a barely noticeable 2 percent.
So it’s vast suffering — including, according to the best estimates, around 200,000 preventable deaths — imposed on many of our fellow citizens in order to give a handful of wealthy people what amounts to some extra pocket change. And the public hates the idea: Polling shows overwhelming popular opposition, even though many voters don’t realize just how cruel the bill really is. For example, only a minority of voters are aware of the plan to make savage cuts to Medicaid.
In fact, my guess is that the bill has low approval even among those who would get a significant tax cut. Warren Buffett has denounced the Senate bill as the “Relief for the Rich Act,” and he’s surely not the only billionaire who feels that way.
Which brings me back to my question: Why would anyone want to do this?
I won’t pretend to have a full answer, but I think there are two big drivers — actually, two big lies — behind Republican cruelty on health care and beyond.
First, the evils of the G.O.P. plan are the flip side of the virtues of Obamacare. Because Republicans spent almost the entire Obama administration railing against the imaginary horrors of the Affordable Care Act — death panels! — repealing Obamacare was bound to be their first priority.
Once the prospect of repeal became real, however, Republicans had to face the fact that Obamacare, far from being the failure they portrayed, has done what it was supposed to do: It used higher taxes on the rich to pay for a vast expansion of health coverage. Correspondingly, trying to reverse the A.C.A. means taking away health care from people who desperately need it in order to cut taxes on the rich.
So one way to understand this ugly health plan is that Republicans, through their political opportunism and dishonesty, boxed themselves into a position that makes them seem cruel and immoral — because they are.
Yet that’s surely not the whole story, because Obamacare isn’t the only social insurance program that does great good yet faces incessant right-wing attack. Food stamps, unemployment insurance, disability benefits all get the same treatment. Why?
As with Obamacare, this story began with a politically convenient lie — the pretense, going all the way back to Ronald Reagan, that social safety net programs just reward lazy people who don’t want to work. And we all know which people in particular were supposed to be on the take.
Now, this was never true, and in an era of rising inequality and declining traditional industries, some of the biggest beneficiaries of these safety net programs are members of the Trump-supporting white working class. But the modern G.O.P. basically consists of career apparatchiks who live in an intellectual bubble, and those Reagan-era stereotypes still dominate their picture of struggling Americans.
Or to put it another way, Republicans start from a sort of baseline of cruelty toward the less fortunate, of hostility toward anything that protects families against catastrophe.
In this sense there’s nothing new about their health plan. What it does — punish the poor and working class, cut taxes on the rich — is what every major G.O.P. policy proposal does. The only difference is that this time it’s all out in the open.
So what will happen to this monstrous bill? I have no idea. Whether it passes or not, however, remember this moment. For this is what modern Republicans do; this is who they are.