Monthly Archives: August 2016

Is America Great?

Allen Etzler

Is America great? It depends on who you are listening to. Trump’s presidential campaign is based on the idea that No… America is not great but he can “Make America Great Again”. Yeah again… because it is not great now. But Trumps reply about Colin Kaepernick’s protest of not standing for the national anthem was, “Maybe he should find a country that works better for him.” But I guess he is not willing to take his own advice? Since Donald Trump does not think America is great… maybe he should go find a country that works better for him. It may surprise people who know me when I suggest, maybe Donald Trump should stay, as well as Colin Kaepernick. They both are expressing an idea that America could be better. They can each work to Make America Better! Everyone should agree things could be better – for everyone. They each have their audience but there is no surprise for many here… I support Colin’s message more!

14079990_1062989783792518_4193278889116713697_nNow… I do take issue with memes like this that try to imply that ONLY soldiers can be heroes or simply being a soldier makes a person a hero. I find that offensive! What about school teachers, parents, community leaders, celebrities or heaven forbid… people who play sports? They can’t be heroes? Are they less a hero because they are not a soldier? Or is it a competition as to who is more heroier!!  (lol heroier is not a word but I hope you get its implied meaning!  lol) Colin Kaepernick has put his career, his reputation, his endorsements and the way Americans are about guns… he has even put his life on the line to stand up, or in this case sit down, for what he believes. I feel they have both made admirable decisions for their life. With this meme… my answer is they are BOTH heroes!

Why are people so offended Kaepernick did not stand up for the national anthem, but are NOT offended by the social injustices he is attempting to bring light to? I am white and I see, understand, and will “whitesplain” that African-Americans are disproportionately affected by violence, police brutality, arrests, and incarceration. I also know that most police are very dedicated and serve their communities admirably. Both can be true. We as a nation can and should be working together to make it better. I understand also that some people don’t want lights to shine on problems, they are afraid they may find they are part of the problem. Some prefer their shadows. We all need to spend a little time investigating our shadows and learning to HELP each other see the light on MANY issues.

Our biggest obstacle to making America better is most everyone has a side they defend without listening or caring about the other. Recently I was told that I had been brainwashed because my opinions were so different. But it did help me realize, I felt the same about her. She shined the light on my obstinacy. I want to be open to other’s ideas, thoughts, and opinions but too many of them I just see as wrong and BAD. I struggle to find a solution. As she stands her ground, Trump stands his, Kaepernick sits his and I try to find mine… I wonder if it’s possible?

Thomas Johnston 2020 – Make America BETTER!

Herbo

This was a great read on the topic also: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/08/29/criticize-colin-kaepernick-but-support-donald-trump-think-again/89551082/

 

P.S. I am proud that the 49ers allow Kaepernick’s protest and support his right to protest.

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My $7.50

750

Who concerns themselves with $7.50? I found that I do. To my own detriment, I refused to give $7.50 for medication I need. That’s right, my Multiple Sclerosis medication co-pay was $7.50 and I refused the medication!

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over 16 years ago. I have gone through many Tecfidera 1different forms of treatment that have included daily injections, one week IV infusions and most recently a twice daily pill. Simply take 1 in the morning and 1 at night. Simple, right? Well… money and my hatred of pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies have combined to even complicate taking medication daily. The medicine I am talking about is Tecfidera. The insurance company is Humana. If you had asked me a few months ago, I would have sang their praises.

What changed? Well, Tecfidera costs OVER $6,500 for a 30 day supply.Yeah… take that in. When my doctor suggested I start taking Tecfidera, I said, “It depends on what it costs Printme!” I said I would agree and start taking it if my insurance paid for it. Behind the scenes, Humana Specialty Pharmacy worked something out and I was able to start taking the medicine. Now keep in mind, this is only one of MANY meds I take to help treat my MS and symptoms. Each month I would get a call to remind me to refill the prescription and it would be sent to me. The call ended with a “and your co-pay will be $0”. This went on for months.

The call at the end of July for my August refill ended with, “Your co-pay will be $7.50.” The representative was assuredly surprised when I exclaimed “WHAT?” The rep remained polite and explained my assistance program had expired. I asked how to get it restarted. I was transferred and was told by this new rep that they would see if funds were available. It did not take long and I was told there was no funding available. I said, “Oh, I guess that is my indicator to stop this med.” She seemed surprised. I replied telling her the pill costs over $6,500 per month and somehow no funds were available to help me?

Did I have $7.50? Yes. But, the idea or principle of the matter for me is that – my $7.50 does not matter. Humana or Biogen, one or both should be making PLENTY of money on a $6,500 a month drug. Getting $7.50 out of my broke ass just seemed to paying for someone’s Starbucks. I just imagined whoever in the chain came up with my co-pay being $7.50 said, “I will be able to get me a Starbucks off Thomas each month.” Well, at my health’s expense, I refuse to buy someone charging over $6,500 a month for medicine a Starbucks. What “funding” or assistance program no longer had $7.50? It did not matter to me.

My protest over my $7.50 co-pay hurts no one but me, but I feel a satisfaction that Humana and Biogen are no longer getting their money either. If I remember right, the meds were $6,594.38 each month. The meds price had been increasing each month it seemed and at $6,594.38 I was fed up. It is RIDICULOUS for meds to cost that much. In my case, since Humana is my Medicare provider, I am saving the taxpayer roughly $6,586.88 ($6,594.38 – my $7.50). Someone is getting PAID and someone is PAYING. I no longer will participate in this scheme!

I have noticed extensive advertising for Tecfidera also. During the Price Is Right, I may see the ad a couple times. It runs regularly. My question is why should I ask my docotor about taking Tecfidera as the ad suggests? Shouldn’t my doctor ask me? Shouldn’t Biogen be telling the doctors about Tecfidera? I OFTEN see pharmaceutical “reps” parade in with their lunch for the doctor’s office and I’ve attended informational dinners sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies  with my and other doctor’s being paid to speak at these dinners. So, there seems to be A LOT of waste for promoting medicines.This resentment may com from the fact I once wanted to be a pharmaceutical rep! lol

I will continue to treat my MS and symptoms with meds that are more affordable for the Tecfideratax payer, the consumer and ME! With swindlers like pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli raising the price of a HIV drug 5,000% and Heather Bresch raising life saving EpiPen more than 470% being rewarded with more and more money… I say NO MORE! I see pretty much ALL pharmaceutical companies and health insurance companies as nefarious, greedy, and futile (futile to all but their stockholders)!

With the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I see no hope to reign in rapacious corporations. Another reason I morn Bernie Sander’s departure from the election. I know Bernie would have instigated change. As long as pharmaceutical companies have lobbyist, patients will be screwed! I hope to see Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren team up in the senate to attempt change but, I have little or no faith in the US government to protect me in matters of health.

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We ALL Lose

We All Lose

I have never been shy to share my thoughts about politics. That has not changed. What has changed is my FEAR about political outcomes. I have thought myself rational and even when faced with opposing views may have felt challenged but not afraid. What is frightening to me about this 2016 presidential election is that I can’t defend “my” own candidate of choice, I can only say that her opponent scares me more.

I have joked that I voted for the lesser of two evils most elections but the choices here are Obamathe most extremes of evil I have had to choose from. I like President Obama but grew frustrated with the stalemate between the executive and legislative branches of government. With either candidate… America will have even more of that. If Hillary wins without Democrats also winning control of the legislative branch NOTHING will change. I will also bet there will be paralyzing scandals. Donald has so little support from his own Republican party that if he wins… stalemate becomes standstill and then standstill will become a stagnate pool of festering malice!

Hillary Clinton is definitely qualified to be president, but she is SUCH a politicianimpeachment by nature, I don’t trust her. I expect her term(s) to be scandal filled, lest we forget history!  Her political ambitions make her seem to follow polls instead of having real leadership abilities. Where was she during the gay marriage debate? She was waiting for the poll numbers to show a 51% support before she could also support it. Her husband’s administration brought America DOMA (Defence Of Marriage Act – ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court June 2015) AND Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (repealed in 2010) and his impeachment (without removal from office). Where as Donald Trump has NO qualifications to be president. Running a supposedly successful business is not a qualification to be president nor is being a reality tv star. If his business IS so successful, why won’t he release his taxes? Again, he can’t be trusted. He campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” is offensive. America IS great and someone that thinks it is not should not be running for president.

My biggest disappointment this election cycle is that I did have a candidate that I could Bernietrust, that I felt had true intentions to do good for Americans – Bernie Sanders. I resent Hillary and see her as power-hungry. She has a net worth over $80,000,000. Along side Bill’s $120,000,000 makes them worth $200,000,000. Politicians can’t be worth that and not OWE someone favors or relate to the everyday struggles of most Americans. Donald Trump’s wealth is disputed as to what he claims, what journalists report and what his supporters believe. Bernie Sander’s had a net worth of $500,000 after more than 25 years in politics, a lot by my standards but still not enough to have corrupt influences.

How many presidents were millionaires before taking office? In the last 100 years only 3 presidents had less than $1,000,000 before office: Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Harry Truman*. That is 63 years since someone was even close to being representative of a typical American lifestyle in the White House.

ThroneIncome inequality is the greatest threat to our democracy and Bernie is the only candidate that campaigned on that issue. Now he is out, even for Hillary it is no longer addressed as a major issue. How can Donald Trump even pretend to understand an average American’s life and struggles? The photo on the right is when he and Pence were interviewed on 60 Minutes. Who the hell has such tacky, gaudy furniture? Oh… I see!  lol  What I see in the photos is also what scares me… Donald Trump has the same temperament to be president as Gadhafi and Hussein. The US democracy is like Citizens United, money = voice. So those without money are not heard and understandably lose interest in a representative government that no longer represents them.

PoorlyUntil Americans stop voting for president like they would a popularity contest, we will continue to be stuck with candidates that can and will say this, “I love the poorly educated.” Yes Trump not only said that out loud, he said it as part of his victory speech in Nevada, February 24, 2016.  So thanks to an uninformed populace, we have a choice between unqualified, Mean Girl Donald Trump and MS I will not be able to get anything done Clinton.

SupportMy fear of Trump is not only him, but his supporters. How can they not see his vitriol? Watch the video link below of him mocking a disabled journalist… they laugh! Trump says he is a great negotiator… is this the man you want representing the US in negotiations?

To sum this up… I am a disgrundled Bernie supported who begrudgingly supports Hillary because Bernie Sanders did not win, and Donald Trump scares me. My vote for Hillary will be a vote for the lesser of two evils. As Americans, we are losing democracy by continuing to vote for evil of any kind, but it’s my civic duty!  lol

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/us-news/video/2015/nov/26/donald-trump-appears-to-mock-disabled-reporter-video

*(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Presidents_by_net_worth)

Blogging is not free!  Please help cover the costs!

Once the $150 a year cost is covered – 50% of EVERY donation will be given to a charity (the charity will not be ME)!  😀

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Better Than I Deserve!

https://thomasajohnston.com/2015/annual-report/

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