War on Women Part 4A in Social Issues Series

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I suppose that the question is:  Is there indeed a war on women?  In this post I will be discussing wage inequality.  Once I started to research this subject, I realized that unless I wanted to post a truly long article I’d never cover the subject in just one post.   Next week I’ll post a discussion on reproductive rights, the pink tax, and other related social concerns.

Barack Obama Quote - Equal pay for women

In this discussion there are many aspects regarding this “war”.  The first that I’ll be tackling is a little something that we call “wage inequality”.   It’s pretty much a known and accepted fact that women doing the exact same job, with the same or even more experience are generally paid less than their male counterparts.  Here is a story from my own life that illustrates this point:  In the 1980’s I graduated from college with a B.A. and a B.S. degree.  I found that I couldn’t find a job that I even remotely liked, so decided to get my Paralegal Certificate since I found the law to be interesting.  I did so by working days and going to school at night.  After I received my Certificate I got a job working for the largest law firm in CT as a paralegal.  After I had worked there for a number of months, by “mistake” I discovered that another “paralegal” – a young man my age, and hired after I was, made $10,000.00 a year more than I did.  Was this person more qualified than I was?  No, he had a GED – no college degree, no previous experience, no paralegal certificate, nothing.  When I questioned this fact, I was told that because he was a man he “deserved” to be paid more.  Remember, this was a law firm that was discriminating on gender.  Needless to say, I began a job search immediately.  However this income disparity affected my life.  I was lucky enough to be able to live with my parents, however, if I too had been making an additional $10,000.00 I would have been able to have my own little apartment.  As it was, even though I ended up working for four different law firms, my income never increased over an additional $2,000.00.

There is an interesting fact that if you’re a woman, not only do you make less, you have less.  Less money, less buying power, less Social Security, less pension (if you’re lucky enough to have a pension).  This “less than” follows you through your entire life, affecting the poverty level and the need for public assistance.  https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2015/cb15-97.html  http://nwlc.org/resources/how-wage-gap-hurts-women-and-families/

Women who earn less have less opportunity.  They cannot afford to go to college and “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”; they cannot afford to save and send their children to college, creating a catch 22 where the cycle will never be broken.  This creates a social problem.  People on assistance are often harassed at the grocery store; their living conditions may be under par; they may not be able to pay for child care; and often the food they can afford is not nutritional.

I’m including the following links for you edification.  Please go and read them.  Let me know what you think about wage inequality.  Do you think it’s real?  Has it affected your life?  Please leave comments, I’d like to know your experiences.

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http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/1/3/1464280/-It-sucks-to-be-a-woman-in-the-United-States?detail=email

http://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/04/14/on-equal-pay-day-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-gender-pay-gap/

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/09/15/3567740/republicans-paycheck-fairness-act/

 

Motivational Monday – Again!

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After the holiday weekend, I find myself in need of motivation.  I don’t know about you, but my weekend was spent mostly cooking, baking and washing up.  I need some help in getting the new week going – besides just spending it cozily laying in my bed reading as many books as I possibly can.  So, I thought I’d share a few quotes with you – and help myself to some motivation!

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Enjoy your week, and I hope that you accomplish all that you want!

Aren’t We all One?

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The latest bombings were just too much.  I know, here I am upset and I don’t even live in Belgium.  Don’t you feel that it’s just too much?  Ever since I was young, I’ve had the understanding that all of the people, animals and environment were connected.  Whatever happened to one, happened to all.  The butterfly effect – before I knew what that was.   But, it seems that I’m in the minority.  People are so busy finding differences everywhere that they refuse to see the similarities.  Here are some quotes from people much smarter than I am regarding the belief of “one”.

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EmilysQuotes.Com-different-religions-languages-colored-skin-one-human-race-amazing-great-inspirational-life-wisdom-Kofi-Annan

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American Renewal Part 3b in Social Issues Series

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This is a continuation of my post from last Wednesday regarding the list of American Renewal achievements from the RNC.  Here is the list from the RNC regarding the American Renewal goals stated.  In this post I’m writing about the last five achievements, since I wrote about the first six in my post from last Wednesday.

CONSTITUTION – Our Constitution should be preserved, valued and honored.

ECONOMY – We need to start growing America’s economy instead of Washington’s economy so that hard-working Americans see better wages and more opportunity.

BUDGET- we need to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, make government more efficient, and leave the next generation with opportunity, not debt.

HEALTHCARE – We need to start over with real healthcare reform that puts patients and their doctors in charge, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington.

VETERANS – Our veterans have earned our respect and gratitude, and no veteran should have to wait in line for months or years just to see a doctor.

SECURITY – Keeping America safe and strong requires a strong military, growing the economy, energy independence, and secure borders.

EDUCATION – Every child should have an equal opportunity to get a great education; no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school.

POVERTY – The best anti-poverty program is a strong family and a good job, so our focus should be on getting people out of poverty by lifting up all people and helping them find work.

VALUES – Our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty, and hard work.

ENERGY – We should make America energy independent by encouraging investment in domestic energy, lowering prices, and creating jobs at home.

IMMIGRATION – We need an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the law, and boosts our economy.  https://www.gop.com/principles-for-american-renewal

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The next achievement is that of Education.  The RNC claims that every child should have access to a “great” education.  Except when they shouldn’t.  The Republicans have voted to cut the budget for education at every turn.  They also don’t believe that students should get loans for higher education.  There is also the issue that “charter schools” are for profit; they educated far fewer students than public schools for more money, etc.  Here is a link regarding these and more problems with charter schools.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/20/a-dozen-problems-with-charter-schools/ and  http://democrats.budget.house.gov/fact-sheet/fact-sheet-republican-budget-cuts-education and http://www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/2015/06/25/why-the-gops-education-funding-bill-gets-an-f

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As far as poverty is concerned, the RNC claims that their goal is to lift people up out of poverty and put them to work.  Again, look at their record.  How do people get lifted up out of poverty when their wages are at or below poverty levels?   As I stated earlier, there is also the issue of the Republicans continuing the tax breaks on corporations that ship American jobs overseas.  http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/04/republican-hypocrisy-on-the-minimum-wage/ and http://www.politicususa.com/2014/03/15/republicans-dream-nation-wage-slaves-obama-overtime-pay-rules.html

Traditional-Values-Quotes

The next achievement that I’d like to look at is values, which the RNC has stated as “Our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty, and hard work.”  This definition is pretty vague, so I looked in other places for a more definite definitions of values. I found the following:  “Our country should value family, life, and hard work. This is why we insist that public policy – from taxes to education, from health care to welfare – should be created to strengthen and support, not hurt, American families. Individuals and families should be able to maintain their independence from government, raise their children by their own values and build communities of self-reliant neighbors.”  https://www.gop.com/issue/family-values/canonical/  Some of these same advocates for traditional family values also advocate:  hate against certain groups, including but not limited to:  LBGTQ+; persons of different ethnicity; persons of different religions; and persons of a different race. http://occupydemocrats.com/2016/02/18/southern-poverty-law-center-republican-party-is-now-a-hate-group-2/   Also, I would like to briefly bring up the point that in recent years the Republicans in Congress have been “caught” in affairs and scandals.  http://reverbpress.com/politics/republican-family-values-politician-caught-in-sex-scandal-forced-rep-to-resign/ and then there is this http://occupydemocrats.com/2015/09/30/republican-anti-gay-family-values-hypocrite-caught-cheating-on-wife-in-sex-tape-scandal-steps-down/

That’s enough for the sex scandals.  If we start to talk about other “values”, these would include:  greater poverty (or below) wages; healthcare for all, including women’s health; good public education; clean air and water; shelter and food. These, again are values that the republicans have fought against.   This article talks about these issues.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-slater/the-real-meaning-of-famil_b_50006.html

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Now we come to the issue of Energy.  The RNC says that it wants to help America become energy independent and keep jobs here at home.  Again this sounds like a valid and good goal.  What does it mean, though?  So far, the Republican candidates for President have said that we should use all sources of energy whether or not they are polluting.  They are there and we should use them.  Some of them oppose tax credits for solar and wind while at the same time are planning to continue the tax credits for oil, gas and coal. http://www.lcv.org/assets/docs/presidential-candidates-on-renewable.pdf  Not only that, but the Republicans have repeatedly voted against any form of clean energy.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2015/11/17/amid-record-global-temperatures-congress-to-vote-to-stop-obamas-clean-power-plan/  As far as keeping jobs here at home, once again we have Republicans giving tax breaks to corporations who send jobs overseas.  http://republicansexposed.org/republicans-support-tax-breaks-for-companies-sending-jobs-overseas/

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Now, last but of course, not least, there is the goal of Immigration.  This seems to be a hot-button issue in this election year.  The stated position within the American Renewal document sounds fairly valid and sensible.  “…an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the law, and boosts our economy.”  However when we take a closer look at the rhetoric coming from the Republicans we see a different side to the immigration issue.  The Republican contenders for President have moved far to the right by vowing to deport millions of illegal immigrants, break-up families and deport children.  http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jan/18/donald-trump-pulls-republicans-further-right-on-im/?page=all   Here you can read comprehensive statements by all the Presidential contenders regarding their stances on immigration.   https://ballotpedia.org/2016_presidential_candidates_on_immigration  While there has been a lot of verbiage regarding illegal immigration, at the same time there has been little in the way of policy on the subject.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-w-traphagan/the-gop-the-new-know-noth_b_9010454.html

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So, American Renewal.  What do you think?  Where do you stand?  While I personally feel that these are good goals, I don’t really feel that given the information that I’ve found from legitimate sources that the Republican Party has either delivered on them, or in most cases moved to achieve them.  Let me know in the comments what your viewpoint is.

 

Early to Rise

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I’ve been getting up at 4:40 am every morning Monday through Friday for the last few weeks.  At first it was easy, since the sun was also a hint in the sky.  But, since our dreaded “spring ahead” last Sunday, getting up so early has been a difficulty.

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Now, I’m taking my dogs out in the dark, and it actually feels like it’s the middle of the night instead of early in the morning.  This feeling is going to last a few weeks before the sun finally catches up with the time change.  I can’t wait for that to happen since the dark sky makes me feel like climbing back into bed and pulling the covers over my head!  So, in an effort to help motivate myself, I thought that I’d share some motivations with you, too.

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Health – Who Doesn’t Want It?

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I always try to assume (assume – it makes an ass of u and me) that other people want to be healthy, however what I’ve noticed is the opposite.  Almost all of my elderly clients are diabetics, so one would commonly think that they would be more than happy to follow the advice of their doctors, keep their refined sugar eating to a minimum, eat in a healthy manner and keep an eye on their blood sugar.  This is what you would think, yes?

What I’ve come to realize is that when it comes to forgoing your favorite treat versus your health, the treat wins every time.  After they go ahead and eat something which could have adverse side effects, they then go into panic mode and take their blood sugar test every 5 to 10 minutes, all the while lamenting the fact that they ate that treat.  When I ask them why they do this (sometimes several times in one day), I get YOLO as an answer.  Now, they may not actually know the reference, but that’s basically their reasoning – they are “old” – although many of them are only in their 60’s, they’re going to die soon, and so they might as well eat whatever they want.

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 This leaves me shaking my head.  Was that fleeting satisfaction of a treat really worth all the panic and worry it caused?  I can tell you from watching and listening to them panic that no treat could ever be worth it.  However, this is an ongoing theme.  The clients with heart trouble and high blood pressure are the very people who eat meat and fatty foods a lot.  Just as with the diabetics they seem to think that they need to eat this way even though they’ve been told not to.  The main excuse?  They are old and are going to die soon anyway.

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Now, if they really believed that, I wouldn’t be so disturbed by their behavior.  Instead they eat against their doctors’ advice, and then panic.  They repeatedly worry that they’ve done “damage” to their health.  This is a great source of conversation every time I visit.  When I ask why they don’t just follow their doctor’s advice, I get a litany of excuses.  They like eating this way; it’s the way they’ve always eaten; they’re too old to change; they’re going to die soon anyway.  After the excuses, I get to listen to their complaints about how they feel sick, etc. etc. etc.

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Do I sound like I’m discouraged?  It’s because I am.  Why don’t people just eat for their health all the time?  When other people find out that I’m vegan the first question is – Don’t I miss all the food I can’t eat?  To tell the truth I don’t even think about it.  I like fruits and vegetables.  I don’t feel deprived.  I have found all kinds of new and different foods to make.  I’ve even gone to the trouble to look up healthy alternatives for my clients and offer to help them prepare new and interesting foods.  Mostly my efforts have gone unused, leaving me with the question don’t people want to be healthy?  Let me know what you think.  Do you want to be healthy?

 

American Renewal – Part 3a in Series – Social Issues

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This is the third part in my series on Social Issues.  In the first and second parts I talked about Civil Oligarchy and Entitlements.  In this post I’ll be writing about that doctrine called “American Renewal” by the Republican National Committee.  Due to there being eleven principles that together create American Renewal, I will be writing about the first six of them today, and finishing up with the last five next Wednesday.  When I first started on this post I didn’t realize how long it was going to be.  I went on the RNC website and copied out their list of eleven important principles for what they are calling American Renewal.  These are listed below in their entirety.

CONSTITUTION – Our Constitution should be preserved, valued and honored.

ECONOMY – We need to start growing America’s economy instead of Washington’s economy so that hard-working Americans see better wages and more opportunity.

BUDGET- we need to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, make government more efficient, and leave the next generation with opportunity, not debt.

HEALTHCARE – We need to start over with real healthcare reform that puts patients and their doctors in charge, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington.

VETERANS – Our veterans have earned our respect and gratitude, and no veteran should have to wait in line for months or years just to see a doctor.

SECURITY – Keeping America safe and strong requires a strong military, growing the economy, energy independence, and secure borders.

EDUCATION – Every child should have an equal opportunity to get a great education; no parent should be forced to send their child to a failing school.

POVERTY – The best anti-poverty program is a strong family and a good job, so our focus should be on getting people out of poverty by lifting up all people and helping them find work.

VALUES – Our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty, and hard work.

ENERGY – We should make America energy independent by encouraging investment in domestic energy, lowering prices, and creating jobs at home.

IMMIGRATION – We need an immigration system that secures our borders, upholds the law, and boosts our economy.

https://www.gop.com/principles-for-american-renewal

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These all sound like upstanding and even helpful ideas.  However, when I decided to do a little research into whether or not these goals were being achieved by the elected Republicans in Congress, I found little in the way of these goals being met.

To begin with, the goal of following the Constitution remains unachieved.  One example of this is the stated (and signed) promise to not allow the President to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice.  Since nominating a new justice according to the Constitution should be done by the President, the Republicans in Congress are impeding an important duty of both the President and themselves.  http://www.thenation.com/article/yes-president-obama-can-still-nominate-a-supreme-court-justice/  and http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/24/us/politics/supreme-court-nomination-obama.html

In the second case, the RNC states that one achievement that that republicans would like to see come to fruition is an economy where hard-working Americans see better wages and more opportunity.  This again is rather interesting since they have repeatedly voted against raising the minimum wage. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/republicans-minimum-wage/  As far as opportunity is concerned, Republicans also vote against that by continuing to give tax breaks to corporations that send American jobs overseas.  http://www.politicususa.com/2014/07/30/senate-republicans-vote-american-jobs-blocking-bill-outsourcing-tax-breaks.html

The balancing the federal budget is another achievement of the RNC.  However, again, the Republicans in congress have blocked any advance on this process by voting to keep corporate taxes and taxes on the extremely wealthy at exceedingly low rates.  http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0415-eichelberger-taxes-20150415-story.html

Another achievement that the RNC talks about is a new form of healthcare that will cover us, and put us in charge of our own healthcare.  Again, there is a little bit of double-talk, since we are in charge of our own healthcare (unless of course we are discussing woman’s healthcare, which I will do so in a separate post).  With all their talk of a new reform after they vote to get rid of Obamacare; they are vague on any new form of healthcare, in fact, with all the talk about replacing it, all we get are non-answers.  There is no new healthcare to replace it with – or if there is it has yet to be shared with the American people.  http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/01/gop-not-going-to-reveal-obamacare-replacement.html#  http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-congress-obamacare-repeal-20160106-story.html

The RNC also says that veterans have earned respect and gratitude; and that they should not have to wait an unseemly long time for healthcare.  So, what are they doing to rectify this situation? Well, here is one article which details how the Republicans have been trying to take benefits away from veterans.   http://www.politicususa.com/2015/11/11/republicans-congress-dishonoring-americas-veterans.html  Another article highlights the records of the Republican politicians running for President and their views on benefits for veterans.  As you can see, no matter what the rhetoric is, there is little in the way of respect or gratitude given to our veterans.  http://correctrecord.org/the-gop-on-veterans-issues/

The next achievement is security of country.  The RNC is extremely concerned with our security, be it our borders or our international security.  This administration has spent about $20 billion dollars on border security, but if you listen to the Republican rhetoric you would never guess it.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/earl-ofari-hutchinson/gop-hypocrisy-rides-high-immigration_b_5574869.html  Not only that, but they have refused to discuss or vote on any solutions to the immigration problem that they are so concerned about.

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Here I am going to stop.  I’ve put a lot of effort into this post, and I hope that you go to the links that I’ve provided.  If you have comments please share them.  I’d like to know what you think of these “American renewal” goals. Next week I will finish with the rest of the list.