Meals On Wheels: Canary in the GOP Coal Mine

The entire “skinny budget,” which somehow manages to keep lots of fat on the Pentagon budget, offered up by the current administration is a mass of mischaracterizations packed into a myriad of outright lies.  The assault on programs like Meals on Wheels is a handle providing a way to understand the totality of the right wing Individualism of the GOP. It’s there, blatantly set forth without excuse, and as emblematic of the Culture of Selfishness as can be imagined.

Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. Psalms 71:9

“Trump’s proposed budget completely eliminates the Community Development Block Grant, which provides $3 billion every year for, according to The Washington Post, “targeted projects related to affordable housing, community development and homelessness programs.” Among those is the Meals on Wheels program, which provides meals—and vital human contact—for older, impoverished Americans, many of whom are largely home-bound. According to MOW, one in six American seniors struggles with hunger, and the organization claims it saves the nation about $34 billion a year in medical expenses by decreasing the rate of falls for seniors. The program gets the vast majority of its funding from non-government sources, but the proposal still seems unnecessarily harsh.” [Esquire]

And the rationale for all this would be what, please?

“After a reporter brought up the Meals on Wheels controversy, Mulvaney at first tried to subtly evade the question. But then, as is the wont of this administration, he fell head over glutes explaining that while Meals on Wheels “sounds great,” the administration couldn’t keep wasting money on programs like it that “don’t work.” As in, feeding the elderly apparently isn’t showing strong enough empirical benefits to merit continued federal spending by this White House, which is now deeply wedded to evidence-based policymaking.” [Slate]

There are a couple of things to unpack herein. First, empirical benefits are hard to compile without first establishing a matrix of goals.  Benefits are precisely why the program “sounds good,” the goal is to feed people, and people are being fed in their own homes. In fact some 2.4 million elderly persons are participating in the program at a total cost of $1.4 billion. 500,000 of these are veterans of our Armed Forces. A study in New York City reports that the average age of a participant was 80, meaning the person was likely born around 1937, and if the person is a veteran he or she likely saw service during the Cold War into the Vietnam Era. How goals are framed makes a difference.

If the goal is to provide 2.4 million elderly people one meal per day with a minimum of 625 calories, then we can say it’s working.  If our goal is to be that no elderly Americans go a day without a sustenance level meal for a relatively inactive person, then, no the program has too many people on waiting lists to say it’s an unqualified success.

“The need is growing rapidly, and federal funding has not kept pace. The network is already serving 23 million fewer meals now than in 2005, and waiting lists are mounting in every state. At a time when increased funding is needed, we fear that the millions of seniors who rely on us every day for a nutritious meal, safety check and visit from a volunteer will be left behind.”[MOWAm]

At this point it needs to be said that Federal funding is combined with charitable and individual donations to keep the program literally on its wheels.  Further, the only logical way to pronounce the services a failure is to absurdly assert that because seniors get hungry the next day the program isn’t meeting its goals. However, it’s crucial to take a look at the second feature of GOP rationalization for pure selfishness.

Ultra-right wing conservatives are fond of explaining that services like Meals on Wheels could be better done by local charitable institutions, ignoring the fact that as mentioned above the Federal funding is not the primary source, and IN FACT is supplementary to local charitable funding sources. Catholic leadership, for example, is wary of the implications of the administration’s budget priorities, and Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada is providing some 2,000 daily meals to those on its list. Reducing funding for this single program by one third would have a profound, and profoundly negative, impact on its services.   There are times when the intersection of governance and religious institutions illustrates the point that while private donations are the core, when the need overruns the capacity then it’s time for a little help from friends around the country.  This Cult of Selfishness only works in the ethereal world of ideological fantasies, it doesn’t deliver a meal, even one of a minimum of 625 calories, to a single individual anywhere.

What makes the skinny budget so alarmingly obnoxious is that curtailing funding for Meals on Wheels is merely illustrative of a budget building process based on what the rich want to pay, rather than on what our society needs to be a truly great nation. It is a budget process to Make American Mean Again.

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To Our GOP Friends Who Don’t Seem To Have A Clue How Insurance Works

We might go for the Ryan budget bill in regard health insurance directly, but others have already noted that either (a) he doesn’t have a clue how insurance works, or (b) he’s trying to pull a fast one on the American public.  At any  rate, the phase I of the ACA repeal is essentially a gigantic giveaway to health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations, a tax boon to those in the upper 0.1% income bracket, and a dismantling of the Medicaid program. The contents of Phase II have been tipped.  It’s on the Speaker’s website, but requires a bit of unpacking:

“Administration actions, notably by HHS Secretary Price, to stabilize the health insurance market, increase choices, and lower costs…”

Translation: The content of health insurance policies, currently listed as “essential provisions” for all policies, is under a head on assault.

If a corporation is going to offer a comprehensive health insurance policy for sale to customers, it must include “ambulatory care for patients in a hospital or not,” “emergency services,” “hospitalization,” “pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care,” “mental health and substance abuse treatment,” “prescription drugs,” “rehabilitation,” “laboratory services,” “preventive and wellness care,” “pediatric care including vision and oral care,” and “birth control and breastfeeding coverage.”

Now, just guess what parts of this coverage the GOP finds objectionable?  If you guessed anything having to do with WOMEN give yourself the prize of the day.

Why, the guys grouse, do I have to have a policy covering maternity and neo-natal care, birth control prescriptions, and pediatric care?  It’s because of how insurance works.

Aside from the obvious part wherein it requires both men and women to create a ‘maternity situation,’ the whole idea of insurance is encapsulated in the word POOL.

“When you buy insurance, you join many others who pay money to an insurance company.  The insurance company uses the money collected to pay claims that are submitted by those who have purchased insurance.  The money is “pooled” and losses and expenses are shared.  An important aspect is the members of a pool share similar risk characteristics.” [HIW]

In the case of health insurance, the “shared characteristic” of note is that everyone who buys a policy is a human being, who at some point will need health care.  The more people (policies) in the pool the wider the risk can be shared. And, that’s the point of insurance — spreading the risk among as many policy holders as possible.

Creating ‘cafeteria’ policies might be profitable for the insurance corporations, but it doesn’t make health care affordable for most people.  If we carve out special coverage for maternity care and remove this from the larger pool (which includes men) all this serves to do is to increase costs for those remaining in a smaller pool.  Similarly, if prostate cancer screening and treatment is carved out from comprehensive coverage, this serves to increase costs as the overall pool is diminished.

Got it? If not, think of your auto insurance.  10 people buy GenZ Insurance, 9 of them never file a claim, 1 does. The costs related to the one claim are shared among those who bought into the pool and paid premiums to maintain their insurance.  We require all automobile owners in this state to have at least minimal insurance. In Nevada, this means you have to have a policy covering $15,000 for bodily injury or death in an accident for one person, $30,000 for bodily injury or death of two persons in an accident, and $10,000 to cover property damage. Thus, all Nevada drivers must have at least minimal participation in the auto insurance pool. Again, the larger the pool the greater sharing of risk, the entire point of having insurance.

Back to health insurance, if we thought Phase I is a disaster, Phase II should be even worse. Phase III is the ‘portability canard.”  Has it occurred to anyone in the GOP hierarchy that nothing that really prevents insurance corporations from selling their policies across state lines — IF they agree to accept the standards set by state insurance commissions for the protection of their consumers.  More on this later — if necessary.

 

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Filed under Economy, Health Care, health insurance, Insurance, Politics

Questions for District 2’s Representative should we ever see a town hall session

Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) was pleased to spend his 2016 campaign season supporting the candidacy of one Donald J. Trump.  Now that the campaign is over — there are some pertinent questions the District 2 Representative might address should he ever have one of those ‘town hall’ things.Carter Page

#1. Do the constituents in your district deserve a full and complete explication of the ties between the present administration and the Russian government, its agents, and its affiliated operatives? How likely is it that there will be a full explanation without an independent commission investigation?

We have some hints at the extent of Russian meddling with our elections and administration in chart form here,  Mr. Trump’s connections in Russia here, and the implications here. And, Politifact’s explication here.   There’s the Carter Page  connection. The Roger Stone connection.  More about Wilbur Ross, the administration’s Secretary of Commerce here. A bit of the Russian reactions recently in this article. What of the activities of Paul Manafort?  The names, in the post Flynn flood, keep coming up and out. It seems necessary to have a full, independent, and comprehensive investigation to determine the extent and implications of the Trump ties to the Russians.

#2. How do you explain support for a health care  act which replaces the Affordable Care Act with legislation that doesn’t offer a route to affordable health insurance plans for working Americans? And, which looks for all the world like a whopper tax cut for millionaires, billionaires, and insurance corporations? 

This topic has been explored in the Washington Post, in the Fortune Magazine, and in Slate.

Will the replacement bill require insurance plans to cover mental health services on par with physical health coverage?

Will the replacement bill require insurance plans to cover pre-natal, maternity, and post-natal expenses for American families?

Will the replacement bill require that consumer protections provided by state insurance commissions be retained?

How will be the replacement make health care policies more ‘affordable’ without going back to the days when insurance companies could sell low coverage/high deductible policies which left families with massive medical debt?

How will the replacement bill maintain the fiscal health of rural hospitals and clinics?

Now, all we have to do is wait for Representative Mark Amodei to hold a meeting with constituents to address these, and other issues.  I’d not like to hang by my hair for as long as this might take.

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Filed under Health Care, health insurance, Nevada politics, Politics, Republicans

The Government Regulations They Love To Hate

The Republicans have catch phrases which have been very handy for their purposes for the last forty years, “burdensome regulations,” are among them. Rarely do they want to identify upon whom the burden rests. Often they are fond of calling the regulations “job killing.”  Nearly always the “regulations” are amorphous, and highly generalized.

Let’s get specific.  Senator Rob Portman will be introducing a bill which, in its present form, would limit the ability of federal agencies to promulgate rules until every last lawsuit against them is completely litigated. In other words, NEVER.  So, what nefarious regulations would people like to have eliminated?

How about eliminating the regulations associated with the Clean Water Act?  One regulation has already fallen — the one limiting toxic sludge emptied into freshwater.  Is this going to make drinking water any safer? Will this encourage the development of tourism based activities in coal country to diversify their economy by adding more hunting and fishing opportunities?  Will elimination of these rules make the drinking water in Flint, MI and other American cities safer for children, and adults?  Do we really want to go back to the not-so-good old days when the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland, OH?

Or perhaps people would like rules associated with the Clean Air Act eliminated?  What’s wrong with breathing a little smog — other than creating public health issues like an increase in the incidence of asthma? Respiratory diseases? Lung cancer? What’s wrong with creating a country of people walking around with face masks as they do in Beijing?

How about eliminating consumer protection regulations?  Gee, what could go wrong, other than a replication of Wells-Fargo’s egregious practice of opening accounts people didn’t know about and then charging fees on those accounts?  Other than predatory lenders charging unimaginable rates for pay day loans to working people, and even members of the US Armed Forces?  Other than mortgage servicers failing to notify customers who held their mortgages and failing to properly record documents with local governments? Other than obviously dangerous products being available for sale to unwitting customers, customers without the ability to check online to see if products for infants, children, and others are safe and free of deadly defects?  Other than allowing financial advisers being able to tell retirees to purchase financial products which benefit the adviser far more than they would benefit the retirees?  Other than making it easier for the Wolves on Wall Street to indulge in Casino play with investment funds?  Were these the “burdensome” rules of which we wish to be relieved?

It’s interesting, that Republicans are only too pleased to speak of those regulatory burdens in highly generalized terms, but when brought down to cases, they tend to sputter that “No, it’s not Those” regulations of which they speak.

Who is in favor of providing federal funds to schools that allow bullying and discriminatory behaviors in their buildings? Who is in favor of making it more difficult to determine if lending institutions are cheating their customers?  Who is in favor of dirty air and filthy streams?  Who is in favor of making it more likely that food sold to the public won’t be properly inspected? Let’s guess it’s NOT the average American member of the public at large.

Someone is in favor of removing these, and other obstacles, to free wheeling unrestrained and unregulated corporate practices, and in this Congress they are finding significant support.

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Imaginary Numbers for Imaginary Growth

I’m sorry but it’s time to type out, yet once more, how we calculate the annual growth rate for the real GDP, and no, there’s no imaginary quarterly or annualized growth rate for the real GDP.  Now that we’ve reviewed, the financial inanity of the current administration is highlighted by policies which are in direct variance with the stated goal of increased economic growth of 3%.

There are two numbers we absolutely need in order to have economic growth: Labor force increases; and, Labor Productivity increases.  The labor force is obvious, how many people of working age are in the workforce. Productivity pertains to how much can be produced by those workers.  For more information see this article from the St. Louis FED.  Suffice it to say that if the labor force growth is 0.5% and the productivity growth rate is o.5% then the economic growth rate will be 1%.

There are a couple of bits of Reality we need to introduce at this point in time: (1) The baby boom is over. (2) We are poised to severely limit our immigration.

As of 2015, the number of baby boomers ranges from 74.9 million to 82.3 million, depending on whether the generation begins with the birth year 1943 or 1946.” [CNN] No matter which year one assumes for the beginning, it was over by 1964-65.  Growth in the labor force has not, and may rationally not, increase at levels seen when the Boomers hit the job market. And, now they are exiting.  Those born in 1965 are now 52, with about 13 years left before retirement; those born during or before 1952 are presumably retired already. So, what is happening now?

“The US fertility rate has been in a steady decline since the post-World War II baby boom. Back at its height in 1957, the fertility rate was 122.9 births per 1,000 women. The latest quarterly CDC data also indicate the larger pattern of women having babies later in life. As birth rates increased among women in their 30s and 40s, the rate among teenagers and women in their 20s dropped.” [CNN]
The current rate is 59.8. There are factors associated with lower birth rates; for example, in developed nations urbanization is a factor — children aren’t a major need for their work in agricultural pursuits.  Another factor is the cost of raising the children, it’s more expensive to raise children in a developed country where those children don’t enter the labor force until they are in their late teens or twenties.  Further, the urbanization trend continues apace in the US. [Census] [Slate] More urbanization, more education, and we can’t reasonable expect a repetition of the Boom in the foreseeable future.
So, if we aren’t increasing our labor force via the old birth-rate route, then the other way is immigration, and this warning from the Los Angeles Times:

“Trump in his first weeks in office has launched the most dramatic effort in decades to reduce the country’s foreign-born population and set in motion what could become a generational shift in the ethnic makeup of the U.S. Trump and top aides have become increasingly public about their underlying pursuit, pointing to Europe as an example of what they believe is a dangerous path that Western nations have taken. Trump believes European governments have foolishly allowed Muslims with extreme views to settle in their countries, sowing seeds for unrest and recruitment by terrorist groups.”

This seems a polite way to say that the Trump administration would like very much to limit immigration to white Western Europeans. If we don’t allow immigration from Mexico and Central American nations, and we severely limit immigration from predominantly Muslim nations, then what’s left?

And, in terms of increasing the labor force, here’s where the policy and the reality clash. If we want an increase in the birth rate in order to increase our labor force, then the women having those babies are more likely to be foreign born immigrants to the US. [Pew]  We don’t get to have it both ways — limiting immigration both limits the number of people available for immediate employment, and the number of little people who will grow up to be a portion of our labor force. Once more with feeling, if we limit immigration we necessarily limit our economic growth.

One of the amazing things about conservative/trumpism ideology is the notion that elements diametrically opposed to one another may somehow be massaged by empty rhetoric into actuality.  Somehow, we are supposed to believe that we can have 3% economic growth while limiting our immigration unrealistically, and while continuing the urbanization of the country. Only in the fever swamp of right wing ethnocentric white supremacist thinking is this going to “happen.” And, the happen part is in quotation marks because this is Neverland.

So, no — we don’t get the deficit reduced by cutting taxes on corporations, millionaires, and billionaires. No, we don’t get a balanced budget by cutting non-defense discretionary spending, and NO we don’t get 3% economic growth by unrealistically impeding immigration.  2 + 2 does not equal 7.

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Filed under Economy, Immigration, Politics, Republicans

I am getting truly tired of concern trolling: Women’s Day Edition

Yes, ladies you had a fine day. It was International Women’s Day and lots of women did lots of constructive things, and needless to say, while they were doing them the concern trolls were out again. I’ll not name them, they know who they are…

I was told by one pundit on my television this morning that there was a danger of the “resistance” burning out from so many marches and things. Oh, really?  Burn out? Tell that to some women who put in a full 8 to 10 hours of work, come home, do the housework, fix the meals, do the shopping, and make time to hit the streets.  Tell that to women who can make appointments for the kids’ dental exams while fixing lunch and finding the socks that didn’t emerge from the dryer, all in the same 15 minutes.

Tell that to women who work, and know that they are making somewhere between $0.15 and $0.35 less than men for the same job.  Tell that to mothers who know that their kids need the local public schools.  Tell that to grandmothers who remember when the Cuyahoga River caught fire without being reminded by the opening scene of Major League, and don’t want that environment for their grandchildren. Tell that to the aunts of gay and lesbian nephews and nieces, whom they love without reservation and support without conditions.  Tell that to the women who gather for coffee with friends who are Hispanic,  who fear for their relatives and loved ones.  Tell that to Jewish women concerned for the safety of the graves of their elders, the Muslim women who fear for the safety of their children, and the Sikhs who fear for the safety of their community.  Burn out? These women are just lighting the tinder.

If this weren’t patronizing (do I want to use the word ‘condescending?’) enough, the boo-birds from the Occupy moments are back.  It’s OK to be “intersectional” just don’t talk about it so much.  Huh?  I get the part where the leadership should just DO it, but talking is part of the process, and women do like to talk things out.  If that offends male ears, so be it, but don’t disparage efforts to combine efforts and find common grounds for activities.

And, then there’s the “don’t make busy work” argument.  It’s tangential to the Please Focus of the people who found fault with the Occupy people.  What’s the good, they ask, of having a thousand  post cards on a thousand different subjects?  Where to begin?

First, this resistance isn’t a carefully articulated and organized Madison Avenue campaign for a new laundry detergent, and shouldn’t be treated as such. It certainly shouldn’t be evaluated that way.    What’s the matter with having a thousand post cards sent by individuals who have never before engaged with their Representatives and Senators?  That’s a thousand little pieces of contact that weren’t happening before. The more phone calls, letters, and post cards, the less often Senator Sludgepump and Representative Bilgewater can say “I haven’t heard from anyone in my state (district) about this subject.”

Secondly, this argument disparages the efforts of those who are not political professionals. Yes, it would be nice to have a single issue, like George W. Bush’s efforts to privatize Social Security, to address. However, this mis-administration is different. It’s not just the assault of Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid; it’s a full on attack on environmental protection regulations, on immigrants and their families, on Muslims and their neighbors, on consumer protections, on financial reform legislation, on the rights of labor and working people, on the pensions and health benefits of coal miners, on the neutrality of Internet services…

And, there are those whose circumstances are such that phone calls, letters, and post cards are what they CAN do. Given the seriousness of the assault on American institutions, values, and government, it’s all hands on deck.  Everyone doing what they can when they can, and taking a break every now and then to let someone else run with the baton for a lap.

When politicians focused on signal issues — like Social Security — it was relatively easy to target campaign promises and compare them to delivery.  The current political situation is more properly compared to the ducks on the shooting gallery tracks, forever emerging, forever repeating themselves, forever streaming past; aiming at a single one means the next dozen are missed.  The administration, and its allies in Congress, need to know that every attempt to degrade the values of this country, to dismantle the social safety nets that secure us, will be met with resistance.

The process of comparing campaign policies to governance policy is slowly becoming more clear.  For example, it’s becoming ever more obvious that The Wall, is morphing into a fence, and the fence into fiscal insanity.  What does it do for security to spend money on a highly questionable wall while slashing the budgets for the Coast Guard, and the TSA? What does it do for national security to issue unconstitutional executive order after unconstitutional executive order establishing a Muslim ban?   There’s another issue that will solidify with time.

Jobs, jobs, jobs, and no jobs. A national right to work bill is not in the interest of any worker anywhere in this country, but the Republicans will push it through if they can. It’s all well and good to talk about Buy American, but that sounds a bit hollow considering there are pictures of Russian steel being unloaded recently on New Jersey docks. The parsing was pathetic — pipelines built with American steel became pipelines built with steel already contracted from the Russians.  Making lovely announcements about infrastructure projects are soothing to the ears until we get to the part wherein it’s new construction, with copious benefits for the financiers and not so many for the workers on the projects. Then, “I love coal,” doesn’t quite cover inaction on health benefits for retired miners whose pension funds are running out.

Affordable health care insurance?  Coverage for everyone becomes coverage for those who can afford it? Or, it’s nice to have access, but if a person can’t afford a policy covering personal and family needs access is perfectly meaningless. Remember, the promise was that premium costs would go down, but the average premium increase under the ACA including the outlier in Arizona was a 23% average increase; now the GOP is promising a 30% increase and calling it an improvement!

These, and other issues will solidify into more attractive targets, but it will take some time for the accretion to establish itself.  There will be time for focused attacks, and by then a wonderful horde of newly energized resistance ‘fighters’ will be used to making phone calls, writing letters and postcards, attending protests, going to town halls, and organizing social events for political purposes.  Politics, it is to be hoped, will no longer be a spectator sport.  Perhaps it’s time for the pundits to, as the saying goes, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

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Filed under Politics, Republicans, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights

100 Senators, all 100 Senators do something, but not quite enough

One hundred Senators have signed a letter asking for an investigation into the rash of antisemitic actions taken against Jewish synagogues and community centers. Getting all one hundred to agree on anything is remarkable, and indicative of the seriousness of this problem.  Who missed the signals? Who didn’t think that among the Trump supporters there were those who were avid readers of Neo Nazi and White Supremacist media? They were there all along.

There was a blatant example at a Trump rally in Phoenix where a man abused members of the press in October 2016. “As the rest of the crowd broke into a chant of “USA! USA!” the man chanted, “Jew-S-A!” He made a hand gesture that some on social media said resembled hate symbols flagged by the Anti-Defamation League.” See also: Slate, The Hill.  So, what would inspire the basest of the Trump base to indulge in hateful actions?

Could it have been the installation of Breitbart’s Steve Bannon in the White House? It seems to me that is a clear signal that the misogyny, sexism, and White Nationalist slant of that publication was now acceptable in the highest realms of the US government.

Could it have been the announcement that the focus would shift from domestic terrorism to “radical Islamic” varieties in February?

“The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.

The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.”

Imagine, is the message here that if you are a member of one of the nefarious anti-government militias, one of the all too numerous antisemitic groups, one of the White Nationalist outfits, the spotlight will no longer shine on you?  Now, like cock roaches, you will be free to scamper about in the dark without the light shining on you all that brightly.

There’s no need to speculate why these unsettling bomb threats are being called in to community centers, schools, and synagogues.  There’s no need to cogitate too energetically about why three Jewish cemeteries were vandalized.  The answer is sitting in the Oval Office, saying “stop it, oh please, stop it.”  And nothing else.

However, the letter didn’t quite go far enough.  In August 2012 we were given horrifying proof that the troglodytes infesting the right wing couldn’t tell the difference between a Muslim and an Sikh.  Six innocent people died at the hands of a radicalized nitwit. Sadly, we’re not free of the Nit Wit Segment — not in Seattle.  Investigating a spate of nasty antisemitic actions is important, but it’s also important to protect other citizens as well. In Kansas there’s a fool who couldn’t tell the difference between a Sikh, a Muslim, or a Hindu. Worse still, the fools seem not to care — the person just doesn’t “look like us,” in Kent, Washington.

Among those other citizens are Muslims. The attacks are now so numerous that the ACLU has created an interactive map showing the incidence of anti-Muslim assaults and attacks. It’s not like the attacks, the mosque burnings, and the personal assaults have diminished. We know we have a problem when someone puts up an interactive map to keep up with the incidents. What might be used to justify these hateful actions?  Changing the focus of the law enforcement investigations from generic hate to specifically focusing on radicalized Islamic heretics?

The effort of the Senate is important and welcome, but it hardly goes far enough to stem the current activities of bigots and hate filled criminals who would attack anyone not of their own “tribe.”  Spreading stereotypes of Muslims, immigrants, and others simply becomes an excuse in fevered minds for assaults on their targets of choice. This must stop.  It must stop immediately. If the president won’t lead the effort, then members of the Senate and other top government officials must take up the burden. It is a burden not to be borne by the American public.

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