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The SANE60 - Moderates For A Stable America - Anti - Trump Since 2015

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      Eight months (now 15 months - BTJ) ago I recruited six people of various backgrounds who shared a couple of traits. They are funny, intellectually honest in their discourse and own a profound dislike of extremism. We all share a macabre sense if humor.

      The SANE60. We are Republicans, Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives, a Libertarian and one who claims to be a Socialist (just because he can afford to be). Many of our discussions include observations that seem to be reasonably well represented in the chart below (with thanks to Lulz' Political Spectrum - we do not agree with all of their stuff, but they have a cool meme):

      (From my original posting before I was a full-time Yabberzite:)


      I have developed the term Sane 60 (with entertaining thoughts stimulated by listening, talking with and reading the amazing Will Durst) to describe the true moderate centers of the voter demographic in the USA. 20% of each major party is both loud and extreme. Their rhetoric includes seditious talk when their party is not in power, an utter lack of respect for the office their person does not hold, and the assertion that anyone that disagrees with them is potentially guilty of Treason.

      These 20 percenters are artificially creating a real polarization of Americans, dividing our population by making every effort to curtail the political and religious freedom that their opposition holds.

      The SANE 60 (feel free to spread it around, I hope to have logos made soon) will be known for their failure to spew rhetoric while picketing, their lack of hateful speech and their tolerance of others.


      Not to say we do not have our disagreements.

      So here we are, looking into the deep abyss of cultural divide where the winds of limbo roar (with apologies to Blue Oyster Cult). Those of us who are embarrassed by the Ridiculous Right and the Ludicrous Left watch them as they play lemmings. We refuse to go running off the cliff with those sorry misled souls, and our group remains steadfast against the extremists, tossing out lifelines to those swept up by the legions of misguided voters stampeding to their political demise.

      Those who are rescued from the certain doom of radical ideology are offered counseling, preparing them for the return to rational, balanced thought. It often starts with developing the coping skills to accept the realization that the best interest of their previously trusted fringe leadership is in no way related to their own.

      Who knows, maybe we will become the next centrist party.

      We promise to have great snacks.

      #SANE60 twilson117czookLogicopieDonna Wood

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      Pundit Post

      Magical Thinking

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          I talked to a lady after Obamacare was first instituted who claimed her premiums had doubled. Actually before Obamacare was enacted I had written about insurance companies who had quadrupled their profits by doubling premiums and cutting coverage in half. This price gouging was not uncommon at all before Obamacare.

          To be perfectly clear I am talking about insurance companies' decisions before Obamacare was put into effect - not decisions mandated by Obama or federal government regulations of any kind.

          After Obamacare I could not write about insurance companies gouging because price gouging was not allowed because, under Obamacare, insurance companies were required to limit themselves to twenty percent " overhead " profits and perks to executives and return any excess back to policyholders in the form of reduced premiums. The proposed Trumpcare plan would defeat that by taking away limits on how much insurance companies could pay their top executives and how much they could take from policyholders' to spend on things that had nothing to do with their policyholders' healthcare.

          Anyhow getting back to that lady I found out she had some kind of plan that she paid into but had never able to collect on because the deductible and what was covered were so high. If you combined what she paid in premiums and what she paid out of pocket for decades it is my opinion that she would have been better off with a real insurance policy with higher premiums. As it was she had paid in for decades but never had her healthcare insurance policy cover a single cent of her healthcare expenses. Can you spell " sucker."?

          Go ahead. Tell me the lady had a "right" to buy a catastrophic plan and was lucky somehow she never had to use it.

          Here's the thing. People without insurance stroke out all the time from conditions like high blood pressure that could be easily and more cheaply be taken care of IF they had healthcare and a doctor BEFORE they stroked out and went to the hospital ( more expensive than a doctor's visit) AFTER their catastrophic event and wound up a vegetable in a nursing home their care for the rest of their lives paid for by taxpayers - and disproportionately more by the middle class than the rich who can take advantage of more loopholes ( ironically some of these loopholes are regulations they claim they want to eliminate but haven't simply because the relations favor them - it helps keep this good ole boy system in place by spreading the falsehood that government regulations harm regulations).

          Under ACA "catastrophic" policies were not allowed to be sold to people under 30 years of age. Right wing republicans would say that takes away " choice" but democratic designers would answer that for people under 30 the chances of ever collecting on a " catastrophic" policy was near zero - a very bad deal for the individual to pay and pay on a policy that their odds of ever using was less than winning the lottery. Worse, republicans " selling" young people the idea they don't really need insurance if they do n't want to buy it because if something catastrophic happens they can just go to the hospital and be treated even if they can't pay - sounds good but someone pays for those hospital visits and it is all the American taxpayers through higher taxes - and as I said before disproportionately by the middle class more than the rich Trumpcare plans will further advantage.

          Private insurance companies in my experience have been too much about " selling" and making profit and not enough about serving the best interests of their policyholders. Perhaps the worse examples are how insurance companies try to " sell" insurance as an "investment" instead of protection. Investments work, or fail, on risk. Insurance only works to the extent it eliminates risks.

          Republicans now want to make financial advisors able to NOT make the interest of the people who give them money the most important factor in how they invest that money. That's obscene, especially since it's done in the name of getting more people into investing who, and this seems clear to me if not to republicans, despite the fact that high fees and risk involved kept poor out of risky investments for their own protection before.

          Nearly half a century ago I bought a whole life insurance policy when I first got married. Republicans might say a term life policy might be a better investment and money saved would PROBABLY make more money as an investment over the long term. But I was buying guaranteed protection for a wife I am still married to - not risk in the stock market that might, or might not make more money in the long term.

          Years later after that whole life policy had built up cash value two salesmen came to offer a " deal." Their deal was use the cash value to buy additional insurance and they had pages of charts showing how much I would under their convoluted scheme at retirement. I told them their figures were wrong and I was absolutely sure their scheme would not work. For one thing they based their chart on past performance of the stock market - not future performance. This is simple gambling - not insurance. Millions of Americans found this out in the recent recession when they lost most, or all, of their 401k investments in the recent recession. The republican idiots who said " they" ( most of them) would have recovered all their money if they had just left their money in their 401ks till after the recession was little consolation to those who lost everything and, more to the point of what I'm writing about here, to those who lost their jobs and insurance and had to use that 401k money for healthcare expenses and just to live on. They tell me without SS ( guaranteed insurance not an investment) they would be left with nothing in old age.

          Social security is an insurance program - not an investment program - and none, least of all republican lawmakers and/or large American insurance companies with their track records, should be allowed to change it. Just lifting the cap on the income ceiling would sustain it well into the future. It is an easy fix in our lifetimes.

          Anyhow those insurance salesmen were arrogant but solemnly promised me their scheme, which they knew wouldn't work because I told them even if they had not prepared or reviewed their own presentation materials, was guaranteed.

          Decades later I joined a class action suit when it turned out I was right and their scheme didn't work. They evidently sold policies to poor people who when the stock market disn't perform couldn't make up the difference on the payments on the increased insurance they had been encouraged to take on and lost that insurance and, because they had used the cash value of their risk free whole life policy to gamble on what I assured the insurance agents was not a sure thing in spite of the fact they insisted it was, lost everything.

          Evidently the court agreed with me because everybody who had been sold these policies in America by what was probably America's largest insurance company was given their money back.

          Too bad some of those people who had been sold a gamble as a sure thing by insurance salesman had died in the decades in between and their families had nothing to show for all the money they had paid in. Probably some of the families of those who died without the insurance they paid in but couldn't collect on couldn't be found - so many families insured wound up getting nothing while the insurance company prospered.

          " high risk" insurance pools republicans purpose giving to states ( and taking risk away from insurance companies) under Trumpcare have never worked and it is magical thinking to think they ever will - but, trust me, what you need to be looking at is republicans who are selling high risk insurance pools as a way for insurance companies to NOT have to deal with the risk of actually having to deal with sick people and compete better in a less risky environment and giving lower premiums to selected policy holders ( insert higher profits for insurance companies here). Insurance companies, legitimate insurance companies, use actuarial tables to manage risk. Taking risk away from insurance companies and giving it to states doesn't elimate risk or the cost of healthcare - just who pays most for coverings that risk, and not coincidently, who bears the cost - insurance companies or states. This is the kind of thinking that enables republicans to transfer Medicaid costs to individual STATES and say that reduces the FEDERAL deficit. It is a shell game. Someone always pays - and it is the American people whether it is through federal or state taxes.

          Think. Why would America want to protect insurance company profit more than people?

          Lower the premiums for healthcare for some under Trumpcare by taking healthcare away from tens of millions who already have healthcare away to make that happen?

          Magical thinking.




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          GOOD NEWS (with An Asterisk)

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              IT'S BENIGN !!!!!!


              but he has to be evaluated at a major hospital now...an oncology surgeon. there are two ways to treat this neoplasm when it's not cancerous:
              remove the peritoneum lining, the right side of the bowel, the cecum, colon with blood vessels and lymph nodes and a portion of the large intestine.
              follow with chemotherapy

              OR

              wait and see

              CT scans every 6 months to check for new neoplasms for rest of life

              i kinda doubt if he's gonna go with option #1: the current thinking in the field is no longer aggressively treat but take the 2nd option. i did some reading on this and found a study done in greece where the outcomes for #1 and #2 are the same.
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              The North American Bridge Championships - JUNIOR TEAM IRELAND Learns To Win

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                  Nathan Doyle, John Connolly, Dan Varley, GS Jade Barrett ( BridgeTourJade ), Sponsor Michael Huston (who kept the spirit of St Paddy's Day by wearing the green in his breast pocket), Captain (and Yabberz Member Thomas Mac Cormac ) Arran Bolger and Michael Donnelly after one of their eight victories during the ten days of competition.

                  For the last eleven days I have had the enormous pleasure of training the JUNIOR TEAM IRELAND, six magnificent young men from Dublin. Five aged 20 and the old man being Nathan Doyle at the advanced age of 22.

                  All currently University Students at Gonzaga College and Trinity College Dublin, the team performed spectacularly well in their divisions. Their eight victories, three seconds, a third and a fourth, placed them in the top 10% of the nearly 4000 competitors at the Kansas City Spring North American Championships.

                  The lads housed with Dr Donna Wood, Karen Lee Barrett, Thomas Mac Cormac and myself at a magnificent house on 4400 Campbell in the Hyde Park District of Kansas City, where we made fine use of the over 4500 square foot home that we found online (thank you AirBNB).

                  Aces and Knaves became interested in the squad after their remarkable and utterly unexpected early successes and filmed them at practice using a 360 camera:


                  At the end of the video, Michael Donnelly mentions the 0-10,000 Swiss, one of the majors for the developing players. They failed to win that event, but one of their more famous competitors did:


                  Microsoft chairman Bill Gates likes to keep a low profile when he plays in bridge tournaments. That became impossible Saturday when his team won the 0–10,000 NABC Swiss. Gates played with Sharon Osberg, Richard Friesner and Eric Robinson. It was a first NABC win for Gates and Friesner.

                  The Great American Bridge Tour's TEAM YABBERZ had its own fine measure of success with a strong second losing at the wire in the final event of the week:

                  BridgeTourJade, Dr Donna Lombardini Wood, Daniel Hoekstra , Karen Lee Barrett, Bob Solick - not pictured, but taking the photo: Thomas Mac Cormac.

                  The boys and their fearless leader have returned home (with the exception of Stephen Barr who is taking his studies in Singapore), carrying their heads high and full of the promise of grander things to come.

                  GS Jade Barrett, 21 March 2017

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                  Pundit Post

                  Small MN Courthouse Attracts Audience Over Free Speech Violations

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                      Itasca County, MN judge granted an hro in a family court matter based on mother's political speech posted to her Facebook and blog, determining the posts to be harmful to her children.

                      On October 3rd, 2016, Judge Wahwassuck ordered the mother to remove 5 years of posts within one week, a nearly impossible feat made more difficult by the fact that she wasn't served for 5 days. She also ordered mother not to discuss the abuse or her own children in EMAIL.

                      Despite evidence that her accounts were accessed illegally and a pending investigation into that matter, this mother is facing three charges for allegedly breaking that unconstitutional harassment order.

                      All of this stems from the county's apparent mishandling of a domestic violence call in 2012, which resulted in the wrongful arrest and prosecution of a battered woman. This mother's batterer continues to control and abuse her through the court system, using her children as pawns.

                      Mother states,

                      "I appreciate the support. I'm having a hard time. It was political speech- questioning the actions (lack there of) of law enforcement and the courts in regards to my case. The judge believed my ex's lies that my children were negatively affected by my posts- but he only conjured up the stories after the judge initially refused to make me remove the posts in an hro for himself, which he was also granted. That order was granted because of a single text message where I asked him to settle out of court because recordings I had could ruin lives if they were brought into the court system. One text where I am trying to avoid conflict was purposefully misconstrued in order to continue portraying me as the abuser. He's the only one who ever showed the kids the posts and they can/ will attest to that if given the opportunity. I can't wrap my mind around how badly everything has been handled - I was pressured into taking a deal for trying to flee an abusive situation, my child's allegations of sexual abuse were ignored and now I am criminalized for speaking up about everything this county has done. I can't even open my social media accounts bc it would make the posts live again. The judge actually told me I wasn't to reopen my accounts when I asked for a time extension. It's made a lifetime of my children's photos inaccessible. I've lost important contacts. I lost my established selling base and all the income generated. It is outrageous. This county took my children, my entire life's work... Everything... Including my freedom of speech. I am taking the criminal charges to trial. This can't be allowed to continue. My court appointed lawyer is doing nothing- not even communicating. It's a nightmare. I feel set up and retaliated against. I don't think this county has adequate training to handle ANY domestic violence issue. I begged for protection, and like many other battered women in this county, I was worse than ignored... I was revictimized repeatedly. I plan to put an end to that.
                      Prayers/ positive thoughts always appreciated."
                      Her omnibus hearing is Tuesday, March 21st, at 8:30 at the Itasca County Courthouse. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. Advocate for Civil Liberties executive director, Kim Bukstein, will be in attendance. Many ACLU and local resistance members have confirmed their attendance, as well. Will you?

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                      Life Transcends War Too

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                          It is about life, it is about suffering, and the all powerful conviction of the soul.

                          The image has spread quickly across the Internet: a man listening to a gramophone in what’s left of his bombed-out bedroom in Aleppo, Syria. The AFP photographer who captured the moment, Joseph Eid, says he thinks knows why it struck a chord with so many.

                          “I’m a war photographer and I’ve seen lots of atrocities. This one is different,” Eid said this week from his office in Beirut. The image shows the tragedy of war, but it also shows someone rising above it through the transcendent power of music. “It talks about life.”

                          The subject is 70-year-old Mohammed Mohiedin Anis, who is also known around town as Abu Omar. He owns a collection of 1950s vintage American vehicles that would make any auto aficionado drool.


                          http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/image-of-a-syr...

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                          Where's America

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                              Where did my country go? This isn't the America I loved and stood by all these years.

                              I grew up in a project and there was more love and caring there than there is now. People cared about each other, rich or poor. We all went to public school where we met people like Arthur Fiedler who helped us put on holiday shows. He insisted every student learn music and play an instrument. Senator John F. Kennedy and his wife visited for one of our shows. When he was elected president, Tip O'Neill brought his inaugural invitation to my school and we all got to touch it.

                              We played sports and had recess twice a day; once in the morning and once in the afternoon. There was no gymnasium, but that never stopped us. On poor weather days, we'd watch a wonderful PBS show on a tiny TV about things like volcanoes, hurricanes, blizzards, dinosaurs, etc.

                              We went to the Science Museum at least once a year. We visited Olde Sturbridge Village where wonderful demonstrations taught us about history and how amazing the United States was. We went to Plimoth Plantation and learned even more.

                              Because my school population consisted of mostly poor people, doctors and nurses helped out. A dentist visited once a week and treated us for free. Our eyes were checked every year, as well as our hearing. The school nurse checked out students who weren't feeling well. All of the students were treated like valuable members of society. It didn't matter that we were poor, different colors, and different religions. Some of the students were from different countries and they saw the same dentist, doctor, and nurse.

                              Public Education is going away and it saddens me that these things have been stolen from youngsters.

                              My school and my Dad told me over and over again to work hard, be true, be honest, and dependable. With those qualities I would be an excellent employee and have a job for life. Now I see that isn't true any longer. The people who are succeeding are doing so by stepping on colleagues and kissing the a$$ of their boss. Yes people, much like donnie's dinks in the WH.

                              My point is simple, people cared. They cared about each other and offered help when needed. Where did THAT America go?

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                                  Willie Nelson was dealing with some health problems recently. Because of his struggling to breathe lately, he has canceled yet another two shows, this time in Las Vegas. Sources reveal that the 83-year-old smoker has been ‘attacked’ by emphysema and pneumonia. All of his friends are extremely worried about him ....
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                                  Sad (but Cherished) Memories On St. Patrick's Day.....

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                                      I never rain on anyone's "St. Patrick Day Parade" or denigrate the "wearing of the green" on anyone's part. I do not take part in the first or do the second.

                                      I am "Irish".....sort of.
                                      My grandfather on my father's side was an immigrant from Ireland. His wife, my grandmother was from Scotland. Both came to the U.S. shortly before WWI.
                                      My grandfather and grandmother on my mother's side were descended from immigrants from Scotland and England respectively who came to the U.S. before the Civil War.
                                      The Scot and English part of the family had no affection for St. Patrick's Day for obvious reasons but the Irish part of the family did not either. Why?

                                      Here's Why.

                                      Image result for 19th century poverty Ireland

                                      My grandfather was born in Ireland in 1890. He tried to get into the U.S. in 1907 having boarded a ship in Queenstown, Cork in the hopes of gaining entry to America at New York. He was rejected. The ship had another port of call, St. John's Newfoundland. He was allowed to enter Canada.
                                      Many hard years followed. He was a laborer who learned construction on the job. He worked his way to Toronto and from there to Buffalo NY. Eventually he ended up in Tampa, Florida where he started a construction company. He met my grandmother in Savannah along the way where they married,and began to raise a family including three sons who fought in WWII. One lost his life. One became career navy. One inherited his company.
                                      As a relatively well-to-do "Irishman" he was regularly approached by Irish benevolent and fraternal organizations with invitations to join up. He steadfastly refused. He also would not permit his family to celebrate St. Patrick's in the Irish-American Way. Instead, his family went to 6:30 AM Mass, went about their daily routines and then at dinner "Pop" would tell the story of the Ireland he left.....
                                      • where his own father drank himself to death by his mid-40's because he could not support his family
                                      • where his mother died of consumption shortly afterwards as there were no hospital beds available
                                      • where he lost a sister and a nephew in childbirth as his brother-in-law wept angry tears
                                      • where brutality by authorities was commonplace and no one in his class had rights of any kind
                                      • where he could not find work and had begun to drink heavily in frustration...at 17.
                                      • where a civil war was waging with both sides committing atrocities using the little people as pawns
                                      • where education was denied and opportunity largely unknown
                                      • where poverty in town and country seemed to be the future for most as it had been the past for nearly all
                                      • and where people prayed for deliverance with hope and where much of that hope lay "across the water."
                                      My dad told me that his Pop, a remarkably unemotional man, would recite this litany of sorrow with tears in his eyes. At the end, he would ask everyone to help clean up the supper reminding them that the house in which they lived, the food they ate, the clothes they wore, the schools they went to were all the blessing of America and that while he loved his first homeland he had no illusions about it. He rejected those who celebrated a mythic Ireland in their clubs and gatherings where romanticism replaced reality
                                      After cleaning up, they said a family rosary for their Dad's birthplace and for his country, the United States of America.
                                      ________________________________________
                                      ________________________________________

                                      A particularly fine reply/postscript from misterzay last year was added to my post and I gladly add it again to my own story:
                                      A story well told, bravo. It is also a story that tens of millions of Americans , myself included without a drop of Irish blood can tell. It is that constant reminder of why most of our ancestors left the land of their birth and journeyed far and wide to the land of the free. It is the story of what built this great country , immigrants looking for a better way of life and a better future for their families.

                                      Of greatest importance it stands as a reminder of why we need to speak out against all of this anti-immigration rhetoric and once again take hold of why so many want to come here and pursue the American Dream. We need to make sure no one turns the American Dream into the American Nightmare.

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