Sunday, July 16, 2017

The GOP's Repeal and Replace Act (Explained)

Under the GOP's "repeal and replace" healthcare bill, the CBO says about 22 million will "lose" healthcare insurance. But what is misunderstood (or is not properly explained) is:

1) About half of those -- 11 million "able-bodied adults without children" -- will no longer qualify for Medicaid, which was expanded under Obama during the Great Recession when 8.7 million Americans had lost their jobs and the number of the unemployed had peaked at 15 million in 2009.

2) The other half of those who will "lose" healthcare insurance -- about another 11 million Americans -- will voluntarily forfeit healthcare insurance by choosing to no longer pay the rising premium for a MANDATED healthcare insurance policy because they will no longer be forced to pay a fine for not buying such a policy.

The idea of a 3.8% sur-tax on capital gains for those earning $200k or more --- and to offer subsidies for middle-to-low income people to purchase an ObamaCare™ healthcare plan -- was to expand the risk pool for the unemployed and low-income "able-bodied adults without children"; and for older Americans who either can not afford to buy a healthcare plan and/or (is still working) but are not covered by their employer (which is more and more common these days with the demise of labor unions).

Under the current GOP plan being considered in the Senate, the disabled and low income adults (WITH young children) will still qualify for Medicaid.

But the elderly will most likely be the most harmed by this plan, because they are usually high risk and/or with pre-existing conditions, and until they can qualify for Medicare at age 65 (which isn't all that great without a costly Medi-Gap policy), will be "SOL". Some groups like AARP are calling the GOP's "repeal and replace" healthcare plan an "age tax" on our senior citizens. (Civilized cultures take care of their elderly citizens.)

The elderly -- the most vulnerable of our society (unless they are wealthy) -- would suffer the most because they would be forced to pay higher premiums unless they can afford to see a doctor who will provide them with the evidence they need to show the government that they are no longer "able-bodied adults without children" -- but yet, may not qualify for disability.*

* If someone is applying for Social Security disability benefits, they would still qualify for Medicaid until such a time when their claim is finally settled -- but it usually takes up to 3 years to settle a disability claim after all the appeal processes have been exhausted (unless one has VERY STRONG MEDICAL EVIDENCE and/or ARE VERY NEAR DEATH.) And about 50% of all disability claims are ultimately denied.**

** Bill O'Reilly on Fox News used to always say that millions of Americans quit their jobs to file a disability claim because it's easy to do. No part of his ridiculous claim is true. Millions of people DO NOT quit their jobs to take a huge chance of being awarded on a claim and "being on the government dole". And it IS NOT "easy" to file a claim. Even the very first initial process of filing a claim on line can be difficult; and as time goes by, and as the process wears on, it gets more and more difficult. There are many doctor appointments and a ton of paperwork. Most of those people suffer acute anxiety and depression while waiting for an answer during this very apprehensive time. Also, most of those people CAN NOT survive 3 years without any income at all -- unless they had a free place to live and can survive only on Medicaid and food stamps for 3 years. To quit a job and live like that for 3 years with a 50% chance of winning a claim is taking a HUGE gamble. And in the end, the monthly stipend is barely enough to live on -- even if you have worked for 40 or 50 years. Bill O'Reilly could NEVER imagine what it must like to be in this situation: poor, disabled, suffering, alone, bored and terrified while waiting 3 years for a judge's decision on the future of their survivability.

Whether one agrees with Senator Bernie Sanders OR NOT on a range of other issues, one thing he is definitely right about -- Medicare for All -- where everyone pays in to expand the pool and provide healthcare for everyone.*

* No, healthcare in America is NOT a Constitutional Right sanctioned by our founding fathers, it's a Human Right sanctioned by God**.

** Currently the replace part of the GOP's repeal and replace healthcare plan is to replace "healthcare" for the very poor with "tax cuts" for the very rich.

After almost 8 years in the making...

GOP Repeal and Replace Healthcare Act

(EDITOR'S NOTE: If any part of this explanation for the GOP's "repeal and replace" healthcare bill is incorrect, please leave a comment below. Thanks).

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Ripped off by Cox Cable (as usual) for TV and Internet

Cox Communications

After hours of research I found (what I thought was) the lowest priced cable TV/internet package currently available to first-time customers in Las Vegas; it's called the BRONZE BUNDLE from Cox, and it comes with a landline phone (which I really didn't need).

My service/modems were installed and began on June 30th -- and only 3 days later I got my first bill for $120.86 -- which is due on July 21st (after only 3 weeks of service!)

The widely advertised price for this Cox Bronze bundle was $89.99 a month (and in VERY FINE PRINT mentions + tax, etc. *) --- which came out to be an additional $30.87 a month (which is 25% more than the widely advertised price!) Where is the limit on false advertising? Could the additional hidden fees have been 50% more or 75% more or DOUBLE than the widely advertised price?

$120 a month to watch TV and send email seems obscenely high. It is equal to about 10% of the income of an average person receiving Social Security retirement or disability. In this day and age, an internet connection is a necessity, not a luxury. And 20 to 40 of the most popular channels are all that we need for basic cable, not 250+ -- so why are we forced to pay for more? (And many stations are just for music, as though FM radio or our CD players weren't enough.)

There is no other cable competitor other than Cox in Las Vegas, so they have a monopoly on the cable TV business. Otherwise, we can go with a satellite dish from DISH or DirectTV (whose internet speeds are very modest compared to Cox).

Every time Cox wants to expand it's cable infrastructure to include more customers, they raise their rates on existing customers rather than use their constantly growing profits. And it's a privately held company, and not publicly traded on the stock exchange, so you can't participate in the profits from their greed.

I just want basic cable and basic internet for $50 a month. And I don't want my rates going up every year when the cost of expansion cost the company ZERO dollars. I don't want all the fancy bells and whistles . . . I just want basic cable TV (with 20 of my favorite channels) and a basic internet connection. Why is that impossible?

The best two options in Las Vegas (to date) are . . .

RC Communications (DIRECTV) --- $50 activate and $50/mo for the DIRECTV "Select" package (with DVR and 150 channels, and includes all tax and other charges) and CenturyLink for internet (with a dedicated phone line) --- $35 to activate and $40/mo (but for only 8 mgs of download speed) --- both for a total of $90/mo.

OR . . .

COX (Bronze Bundle) for $120/mo with the same channels as DIRECTV but much faster internet (60 mgs of download speed), but doesn't include DVR (but comes with a landline phone).

* When first getting service, why is a zip code within the same city required to determine your monthly billing rate? Do their satellite signals cost more on the East side of town than on the West side of town?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

How to set up NON-Synced Gmail on Mobile and PC devices.

NOTE: Usually if you automatically set up your email account settings on both mobile phones and PCs, these days they usually configure them in IMAP to sync the account on multiple devices at the same time. For example . . .

If you delete an email from your mobile device it also automatically deletes that email from your PC as well - - - and vice versa - - - if you delete that email from your computer, it will also disappear from your mobile phone too. I didn't know that, and so I lost some important emails (stupid me).

But I found a way to set up a Gmail account on both devices (Android and PC -- maybe Mac and iPHone too) that allows you to delete emails on your mobile phone (to clear all the clutter) while also keeping copies archived on the server to later download to your PC to better sort and save until they're also deleted from the hard drive on your computer.

I learned all this after I temporarily lost my primary (DEFAULT) Gmail account and all access to my Google blog and YouTube accounts as well - - - and I was freaked out because (as a non-geek), I thought those accounts were lost forever.

But after almost 3 days and hours and hours of work, I got my account back and found a solution that many people have been asking about in forums that I've read . . .

How to SYNC incoming emails on 2 devices -- but not delete emails on your server/computer after deleting them from your mobile device.

(My PC uses WINDOWS LIVE 2012 for email, part of the Windows Essentials in Windows 7*, and Google says this is a less secure** than your new Android phone. More below.)

BELOW: Setting up a Gmail account on an Android mobile phone and PC using both POP and IMAP settings.

STEP ONE: First you'll have to log in to the Gmail website to "enable less secure apps" to allow your Google account to work in the POP/IMAP server mode in both devices. You will get a notice from Gmail saying:

"You recently changed your security settings so that your Google Account is no longer protected by modern security standards. Please be aware that it is now easier for an attacker to break into your account. You can make your account safer again by undoing this change here, then switching to apps made by Google such as Gmail to access your account."

STEP TWO: After that, you will also have to log in to your Gmail account at their website -- and near the top right side of the page, click on the "gear" and click on "Settings" as seen below.

Gmail POP-IMAP-settings

On the next page you see, click on FORWARDING AND POP/IMAP to make these server settings that are seen in screen shot below (click on the small image to enlarge for much greater detail.)

Gmail POP-IMAP-settings

STEP THREE: Configure your email settings in the email program on your computer like they are shown in the images below. Gmail's explanations in the links on that page for the settings were very confusing for me, so I thought the screenshots of my actual settings could better explain. They are the current settings of my Gmail account on my PC to show you EXACTLY how to use a Gmail account on both your Android and PC without syncing and losing access to your Gmail , Blogspot and Youtube accounts at Google --- and NOT having your emails automatically deleted from your server or your PC's hard drive whenever you delete them from your mobile phone.

Gmail POP-IMAP-settings

Gmail POP-IMAP-settings

Gmail POP-IMAP-settings

FYI: Seen below is all I could see on my phone for Gmail settings (which were configured automatically when I added a new Gmail account to my phone.)

Gmail POP-IMAP-settings

Now I can open my mobile phone and download any messages I might receive, and delete the ones I've read or skipped, but yet still have them downloaded on my computer later at home when I open my email program (because they are still left on the server); and any new incoming messages will still go to both devices.


* You can use Windows Live Mail 2012 with any standard email service. However, Microsoft moved all its own email services (Office 365, Hotmail, Live Mail, MSN Mail, Outlook.com etc) to a single codebase at Outlook.com. And Windows Live Mail 2012 does not support the new APIs (applications programming interfaces) required to provide full synchronisation with Outlook.com. Microsoft could update Windows Live Mail 2012, but instead, it has asked users to switch to a different email program.

** I'm no expert, so I don't how "enable less secure apps" affects your email's security. Is it less secure on your PC or mobile phone or both? And Why? I've always used firewalls, anti-virus, etc. on my computer --- but am I now somehow more susceptible to hacks with Gmail because I changed that setting to use this account with both devices? Bfore I began using an Android, I was never informed that using Gmail on my PC was "enabling less secure apps".

(LEAVE A COMMENT)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Turns Out, Trump was Wiretapped

This week at a House hearing FBI director James Comey said the FBI has investigated Russian ties to Trump's team since last July, but he wouldn't say if leaks from our intelligence agencies (who claim they never wiretapped Trump) were being investigated.

It doesn't take a genius to connect the dots. Obama's administration colluded to sabotage Trump during the campaign, but Trump won the general election anyway. Now they are all colluding to destroy Trump's presidency.

Trump had tweeted that Obama wire-tapped his phone — which is mostly true, if you don't parse words. Prior to 2005, most people still used landline phones, not cellphones or smartphones — so telephones were "wire-tapped".

A NSA control room

Electronic surveillance is the monitoring of a home, business, or individual using a variety of devices such as CCTV, wiretapping, GPS, cameras, digital video equipment, and other electronic, digital, and audio-visual means. (These days, the NSA "wiretaps" the entire world!)

Obama's intelligence agency (with or without Obama's direct orders) used electronic surveillance on Trump and his transition team, and then distributed the collected data to other intelligence agencies (which was an Obama change in policy just prior to his leaving office) without masking (redacting/hiding) any of the names.

And then someone (maybe high up in the INTEL community) leaked portions of the surveillance transcripts to the media. The New York Times/Washington Post is often used — while CNN and NBC also work very closely with the Democrats, and colluded with Hillary Clinton during the primary and general campaigns (Why Trump calls them fake news).

The leaking of names to the media was how Trump's National Security advisor Mike Flynn was called out, and why he later had to resign for not being forthright with Vice President Pence regarding his LEGAL contact with the Russian ambassador.

The heads of Obama's intelligence agencies (Deep State: NSA, CIA, etc.) who, like Obama, publicly endorsed Hillary Clinton during the campaigns — and they all denied ever "tapping" Trump or Trump Tower. (Former head of the NSA James Clapper is on the record for being a known liar, so why should we believe him now?)

But last Monday FBI director James Comey said the FBI had been investigating Trump and his team for any collusion with the Russian government since July *. This was after Trump had already won the GOP nomination during the political conventions --> which was right after Bill Clinton had just met James Comey's boss (Attorney General Loretta Lynch) on the tarmac --> which was just prior to Hillary Clinton's fake interrogation (AKA "interview") at FBI headquarters.

Yesterday House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said that members of the intelligence community "incidentally collected" communications from the Trump transition team during legal surveillance operations (obtained by a FISA warrant from a judge) of foreign targets, but that none of the reports Nunes had read had ever mentioned Russia --- and that surveillance transcripts were widely distributed without redacting any names.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Who or what first triggered the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign and the possibility it colluded with the Russians to affect the election? What evidence or suspicions did the FBI have?
  2. Did President Obama and/or Hillary Clinton and/or other Democratic operatives and politicians (like Senator Harry Reid) and/or any members of the liberal media know about this ongoing FBI investigation either before or after the general election?
  3. Is it possible that President Obama could have had candidate Trump (or members of his campaign) put under surveillance by any of the U.S. intelligence agencies (or foreign intelligence agencies) during the campaign without any of the legal requirements such as warrants and court approvals (FISAs)?
  4. Could this surveillance have been done covertly by one intelligence agency (such as NSA or CIA) without leaving any evidence to be discovered by another intelligence agency (such as the FBI) and then later had leaked contents to the liberal media?
  5. If Obama or former intelligence heads under Obama claim Trump or his team was never illegally put under surveillance, does their denial make it true?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Trump's Immigrant Ban vs. FDR's Internment Camps

Trump and FDR

After the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941 (when the U.S. population was 131 million) FDR's Executive Order 9066 sent 70,000 Japanese-American citizens to internment camps. It was legal then and it would still be legal today in 2017 (if so ordered).

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Is there a war on White people in the US?

Or more specifically, on White working-class men? Or is it just a war on all White men who didn't vote for Hillary Clinton?

Or are all White people in the U.S. being subjected to reverse racism?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Make America Great Again (with Fair Trade)

It's not a lack of a skills, it's a lack of jobs. Eventually robots will do it all; but in the mean time, let's stop offshoring our best jobs to foreign countries, or giving jobs (that Americans want to do) to foreign workers.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Trump's Evolution on the Federal Minimum Wage

Last summer during the Democratic convention (when Hillary Clinton "won" the nomination), in his speech Senator Bernie Sanders said Donald Trump believes that States have the right to lower the minimum wage. But Trump never really advocated for States to LOWER the minimum wage, but only that they should decide if it should go higher than it currently stands. According to Trump's last statement on the subject, he actually thought the U.S. should have "at least" a $10 federal minimum wage.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Baby Boomers not to Blame for lack of Jobs

Baby Boomers are not to blame for the dramatic rise in the number of people "not in the labor force". Retirees and those on disability are making for a smaller and smaller share (on a monthly basis) as to the number of people "dropping out" of the labor force.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

How can Trump raise wages?

Only unions and laws can raise wages, because employers won't — not unless they're forced to.