Saturday, May 03, 2014

Why aren't the existing laws prohibiting pay discrimination adequate?

Equal pay for equal work should have been protected by the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act, both enacted in the 60’s. But each had a weakness that the courts allowed employers to take advantage of.

The Civil Rights Act was interpreted by the Supreme Court in a way that made the protection impossible to use. The Supreme Court said that the victim must identify the discrimination within 180 days of its first occurrence. That’s not a practical possibility and it was not what the legislators had intended. So, they changed the law so that the victim must complain within 180 days of the occurrence of any discrimination rather than only the first occurrence of discrimination. This correction was the Lily Ledbetter Act.

The Equal Pay Act also allowed discriminating employers to win in court. The Equal Pay Act said that every employee should be given equal pay for equal work except when the unequal pay is the result of a “factor other than sex.” There are factors that justify paying one person more than another although they perform equal work. However, the Equal Pay Act didn’t require that the factor, identified by the employer, must be a legitimate business reason, which is not discriminatory. Seniority is a valid factor. Being unmarried is not a valid factor. So, the Paycheck Fairness Act is intended to ensure that the “factor other than sex” is a valid, non-discriminatory factor.

The courts don’t always decide a case based on the spirit of the law. Sometimes they are willing to ignore the original intent and accept arguments that are technically correct even though they violate the intent of the law. The Supreme Court is always asked to rule on the “intent” of the law, especially when dealing with the Constitution.

Republican Health Care Reform Strategy - Doubledown to Repeal

The GOP reminds me of a compulsive gambler. A compulsive gambler keeps telling himself that his losing streak is going to end with his last bet. He doesn’t want to quit playing while he’s losing. He knows his luck will change; he just has to hang in there until it does. It usually doesn’t. He stops gambling only when he doesn’t have a penny left to bet with.

The GOP is handling Obamacare just like the compulsive gambler deals with a losing streak. The public may not love Obamacare (mostly because they don’t know what Obamacare is…really). But, most of the public wants to keep Obamacare and improve it. The GOP wants to repeal it and by GOD they aren’t going to change their minds about that.

A couple of years ago most of the Republican lead states decided that they would not expand Medicaid to close the gap between the state’s existing Medicaid program and the Public Exchange. Most states cut off Medicaid below the minimum income to qualify for the Public Exchange. The federal government committed to pay 100% of the cost of expanding Medicaid for the first 3 years and 90% of the cost thereafter. You have to make more than 138% of the Federal Poverty Level in order to qualify for the Public Exchange. Everyone who earns 138% of the FPL or less will be covered by Medicaid. Many states didn’t qualify people up to 138% of the FPL, some states cut off Medicaid if you earn more than 25% of the FPL (about $6,000 for a family of 4). The federal government would pay for the cost of Medicaid for everyone whose income falls between each state’s existing Medicaid maximum income and 138% of the FPL.

However, most Republican lead states like my state of South Carolina, refused to accept the additional federal funding. Consequently, about 11 million people will not have health care coverage in those states. Many of those people will use hospital emergency rooms when they are sick. That cost will be in the billions and will drive up the cost of health care for everybody.

Now you would think that the GOP would accept the federally funded Medicaid expansion if not so that 11 million people have adequate health care, then in order to prevent higher health care costs. But, most of the Red States said no.

Now that Obamacare is up and running successfully and the majority of Americans do not want to repeal Obamacare, why are the Red States not expanding Medicaid? Why are GOP congressmen still calling for the repeal of Obamacare?

Is this a winning strategy or will the GOP lose like the compulsive gambler?

I think they will lose if they keep resisting Obamacare but I could be wrong. Most Americans don’t understand Obamacare, the Public Exchange and Medicaid Expansion and refuse to learn about them. If they did understand, I think they would disapprove of the GOP’s strategy. If enough of them don’t do their homework and know only what the neighbor tells them or what they hear on Fox News then the Republicans may get away with their strategy.

What do you think most Americans will do?

Who are Cliven Bundy's Defenders?

Defending Cliven Bundy: A family activity!
No one too old - no one too young.
Bring the kids and stand guard together.

Shelley Shelton, her son, Chris Shelton, and her one-week-old grandson are in Nevada defending Cliven Bundy. I wondered who would bring their new-born grandchild to an armed conflict with the federal government, so I looked for this grandmother and her son and found that they own and operate a power washing business in Las Vegas. They look like a typical family - next door neighbors. But, they aren't typical. How many families do you know that would grab up the grandkids, lawnchairs and assault weapons and spend a few weeks confronting the federal government to defend an anti-government racist militant rancher who is ripping off the government and the taxpayers? This family has a serious problem. I think that they are guilty of criminal endangerment of the grandchild. They are not courageous patriots.

Why America Has Inadequate Mental Healthcare

America has a serious problem with untreated mental illness. Prior to 1981 the federal government maintained mental institutions throughout the country. In 1980 President Jimmy Carter authorized funding to continue those institutions and added research programs.

One month later Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan the federal funding of those mental institutions was discontinued. The mentally ill who were neither homicidal nor suicidal were eventually released from care. They were either cared for by relatives or became homeless and still are.

Under Ronald Reagan, who also ignored the aids epidemic and the need for aids treatment research, care for and the treatment of the mentally ill all but completely ceased under Reagan.

My Down Syndrome son was born in 1982. My son entered early intervention treatment when he was only 3 months old to encourage gross motor and mental development. That treatment is critically important. Ronald Reagan saw this as an opportunity to cut federal spending in order to fund his massive tax cuts. The programs were terminated. The teachers and therapists that had worked with Jon and his peers disappeared. Funding of the Department of Mental Rehabilitation has never fully recovered.

Inadequate mental health services is a contributing factor to the violence in America. Let us all thank Ronald Reagan for that inadequacy and so much more.

Is Voter Suppression Racism?

Changes to voter ID requirements and reduced access to polls and absentee voting is intended to suppress Democratic voting, not to prevent voter fraud as claimed by Republican lead state governments that are enacting the changes. The Republicans are making changes that disproportionately affect Democratic voters. The voters affected are the poor, the elderly and the young.

Urban areas are predominantly Democratic. Therefore, making changes that only affect urban areas and disproportionately affect the poor can significantly reduce Democratic voting and give Republican candidates a winning advantage in swing states.

I believe that racism is still a significant issue in the United States, however, even though the African American population is impacted the most by voter suppression, the suppression is not racism. The urban African American vote is being suppressed because it is predominantly Democratic not because the voters are black.

Even though suppression looks and feels like racism because the population most affected is black, I think Democrats should be careful not to call this racism because it is a weaker argument that is easily attacked.

Confederate Memorial Day

Confederate Memorial Day will be celebrated this week where I live in South Carolina.

Confederate Memorial Day is observed in 14 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. It is an official state holiday in 11 of the states. Arkansas observes Confederate Memorial Day on Martin Luther King Day.

I think it is shameful to celebrate the war started by the Confederacy to defend its secession from the Union in order to continue slavery. Secession was an act of treason and the leaders of the Confederacy were not heroes and do not deserve to be honored by any state or any American.

The Confederate states had an agricultural economy that was totally dependent on the labor of slaves, who were almost 40% of the population. Those slaves were owned by only 6% of the population. The plantation slave owners were wealthy, politically powerful aristocrats whose way of life would end if slavery were abolished. The aristocrats were only 1 in 9 of the white population. Almost 90% of the white population did not own slaves and did not enjoy the wealthy lifestyle of the aristocrats but they were more than 90% of the Confederate military. These men were wrongly lead to believe that they were fighting to defend their home states from Northern aggression. In fact, the only thing at stake was the lifestyle of the aristocrats. Volunteerism soon was inadequate and a draft was used to man the military. The draft did not apply equally to all males; sons of aristocrats were overlooked.

Confederate casualties totaled almost 500,000, which includes 200,000 killed. Union casualties were 660,000, which included almost 400,000 killed. More than 1 million casualties were sacrificed to defend the lifestyle of 300,000 aristocrats. The Union soldiers fought to protect the Union and to end slavery. The Confederate soldier was sacrificed for the aristocrats.

The states that annually honor their Confederate heroes and war dead, should instead curse the traitors that caused the deaths of 600,000 Americans. Many Southerners daily fly the Confederate battle flag instead of the American Flag. The state flag of Mississippi includes the Confederate battle flag. Out of ignorance that has persisted since the Civil War many Southerners still refer to the Civil War, which was started by the Confederacy, as the War of Northern Aggression.

In my opinion, the Confederate flag and Confederate Memorial Day are un-American.

The Bundy Ranch Standoff Has Gone Too Far

The Bundy Bunch has gone too far. Previously, I thought the government should only lay siege to the Bundy property. During the siege anyone can leave. Nobody can enter and no materials, food or water can be delivered to the ranch. Anyone leaving the property would be disarmed and detained for questioning, if that person is a member of the Bundy family they should be detained until everyone has left the Bundy property and law enforcement has determined whether to charge them with a crime.

But, the Bundy Bunch are now endangering neighbors and travelers that must cross the checkpoints established by the Bunch. This is intolerable and if this continues the Bunch will eventually harm someone. Therefore, the government should order the Bundy Bunch to leave the area and surrender to the government, or abandon the check points and withdraw onto the Bundy property. When the whole Bunch has withdrawn onto the Bundy property, the government should lay siege along the Bundy property perimeter and wait for the Bundy Bunch to surrender. All utilities, if any, entering the property shall be turned off and left off until the Bundy ranch has been evacuated.

If the Bundy Bunch refuses to abandon the check points and withdraw, the military should clear the check points by force. Anyone who resists will be shot and everyone on the Bundy property will be charged with resisting.

Lord, do you know what your Followers are saying and doing?

Lord, I'm confused by what many of your followers say and do.
  • Did you tell them to execute people in cold blood and laugh about it when they botch it?
  • Did you tell them to hate the poor if they ask for food?
  • Did you tell them to hate people who worship you in a different way?
  • Did you tell them to persecute homosexuals?
  • Did you tell them to carry guns and shoot anyone that gives them the slightest excuse to do so? It's shocking how proud they are when they do kill someone.
  • Did you tell them that they can dictate how everyone else should live and love and to persecute or imprison those who do not comply?
  • Did you tell them that the faithful will prosper on earth?
  • Did you tell your followers that the Beatitudes no longer matter?
  • Did you retract "The Sheep and the Goats?" Most of your followers are not heeding that message.
  • Do you really tell Pat Robertson, Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly what you want us to know? Their messages are always hateful instead of loving and forgiving as you always were.
 I'm sure you already know all this. The good news is that some of your believers don't believe as they do. But, they make such a loud noise that no one else can be heard...except by you.

Twitter discussion with an Obamacare Opponent

My discussion with an Obamacare opponent named M* M*:

M* M*: Majority Disagree w Obama on Foreign Policy, ACA, Economy but Don't Worry People Still Like Him Personally! Democrats R A Joke

JoeNavy: Spoken like a Fox fan. People opposed to ACA know nothing of ACA. Experience will change their minds but not yours.

M* M*: I Don't use healthcare & refuse to pay for anyone else's.  When I Need It I will buy a Reasonable policy.  Ppl Don't Like Buracracy

JoeNavy: Buying insurance after you're sick causes others to pay higher premiums. That's like buying car insurance after an accident.

M* M*: Auto & Health Vary Greatly, I Support Auto Insurance to protect others from Loss & I Do take Responsibility for MY Healthcare Costs

JoeNavy: Who pays if you are disabled in an accident and cannot pay for your healthcare? The taxpayers will; not you.

So I started searching for M* M*.  He’s in his early 30’s.  He’s separated from his wife and living with another woman; they just had a child in March.  In the past 10 years he has been sued 7 times by creditors.  One of the creditors was a non-profit Healthcare Provider, which was paid by garnishing M* M*’s wages for a couple of years.  One of the creditors was his mortgage bank who foreclosed on his home.  He finally filed bankruptcy.

This doesn’t sound like a person that will take responsibility for his healthcare costs.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

What are we?

I’ve always thought of myself as a six-foot overweight man with a middle income lifestyle.  But that’s not the real me.  I am memories and lessons learned.  The physical body without my memories and learnings is no more me now than it will be after I die, which would be like a computer that has been turned off.

The living me is still a computer with memory and an artificial intelligence operating system.  The body has some built-in unintelligent functions but they are not me.  If you took my memories and learnings and installed them in another body, I would essentially be the same person – the same personality – in a different body.  The computer analogy would be to move the hard drive from one computer to another.  Everything that the hard drive, with its memory and operating system, could achieve in the first computer chassis, it can do in the second computer chassis as long as it has the same accessories (printer, display, camera, etc.).  Changing the computer chassis doesn’t change me, any more than I would be changed if one of my legs were cut off or my body’s eyes went blind.
When the computer is turned off its hard drive can be removed and installed in a different chassis.  When the hard drive in then turned on, we have the same computer – the same memories and operating system - within a different chassis.

Likewise, if my memories and learnings were moved from one body to another body while I was asleep, I would be the same person in a different body after I woke up.  With our current technology my memories and learnings could only be moved to another body by moving my brain to the new body.  But, the physical brain, like my arms and legs, is not me.  Only the memories and learnings that are stored in the brain are me.  In fact, to move a computer from one chassis to another I can move the hard drive or I can transfer the information stored in one hard drive to another hard drive as long as the capacity of the new hard drive was equal to the capacity of the old hard drive.  In the same sense, I would be essentially the same in the new body as long as the new body has the same accessories and the same brain capacity.

It would also be true that my memories and learnings could be copied to more than one other body and upon waking, there would be two of me with the same memories and the same learnings.  Both of me would cease to be the same as time goes on and each has different experiences, thinks and forms new memories.  However, the instant we wake up there are two of me who are exactly the same person.

With every passing moment both of me become more and more unique.  We rapidly become two different persons who have the same past up to the moment that I was copied into a two new bodies.
It’s also true that my memories and learnings could be copied into a second body but not erased from the original body.  Again, when both awake there are two of me, with the same memories and learnings.

Now assume that my memories and learnings are copied into a second body and the original body – the original me – allowed to die.  When the second body awoke, I would still exist but in a different body even though the original body with which my memories and learnings were formed was dead and the memories and learnings it contained are lost.

Since I exist as long as my memories and learnings are intact, then I exist no matter what my memories and learnings reside in as long as I can think and access the memories and learnings.  I don’t need arms and legs or eyes and ears; I only need the capacity to think in order to be me.  So, I don’t need a brain – human or otherwise.  I only need a device that can store my old memories and learnings and think.  Today that is a computer equipped with artificial intelligence.  Compared to the human brain it is significantly limited but in time man will develop computers with greater thinking capacity.

In the future, any of us will be able to exist forever by keeping our memories and learnings in a computer.  That form of existence might not be nearly enough for most people but it’s not hard to imagine a manmade body in which the brain containing one of us resides.

Many may argue that I’m ignoring the human soul which they believe cannot be moved or copied.  It is God-made and all of them are one-of-a-kind.  We think of the soul as something that can and does survive death, God permitting.  Perhaps it’s like the one-of-a-kind serial number that accompanies a computer’s software.  There can be many copies of the software but each will operate only when a serial number is provided and each serial number can only be used in one computer at a time.

Can we be duplicated many times or are we dependent upon a single user serial number?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

When Is A New Life Recognized And Protected By The U.S. Constitution?

If you believe in life after death, you believe that each person consists of a mortal body and an immortal spirit.

The body is an earthly creation.  The spirit is a creation of God.  Christians believe that each spirit is given one body and one physical life.
We know when and how the physical body is created.  We don't know when the spirit is created by God, however: if Christians believe that the body does not exist without the spirit then the body and the spirit are created at the same time.  Thus the spirit is born at the moment of physical conception.

When the body dies, the spirit's afterlife begins.  Some bodies survive for more than 100 years.  Some bodies die as infants.  Some bodies die during the physical birth.  Some bodies die before the physical birth.  In each case the body's spirit returns to God and is never reborn in the physical world.

Every birth aborted after conception ends the one and only physical life of the spirit created with the body at conception, including the spirits of the bodies aborted by the morning after pill.

The U.S. Constitution and all the federal, state and local laws of the United States of America are secular laws.  Whether a god or gods exist, whether this god or gods created the universe and everything in it, including certain laws for mankind to obey, are matters of individual faith, not the Constitution and the laws of these United States of America except that the Constitution protects each citizen's right to a religious belief and the practice of that religion as long as it does not limit the Constitutional rights of others.

If you believe that your god(s) create an immortal spirit at the conception of each being, then you must also believe that abortion in any form and for any reason interferes with an act of god, especially if you believe that everything happens according to god's design.  If you believe that conception, whether or not it is timely, normal or voluntary, is determined by your god(s), then you might also believe that you have no right to abort that conception.

No matter how true that is for the believer, the believer has no right to impose his belief on anyone but himself.  However, abortion becomes a matter of secular law if the human being, protected by the U.S. Constitution regardless of religion, exists from the moment of conception.  Even secular law must establish when a human being is protected by the U.S. Constitution as an individual.

When the citizens of Mississippi were asked whether a person exists from the time of conception, many of us thought that this question was not a matter for secular law but it is.  Regardless of one's religious beliefs, the U.S. Constitution must define when a human being gains all the rights and protections of the U.S. Constitution relative to the time of conception.  Is it at the same time?  Is it after two trimesters?  Or, is it only after birth?

When does constitutionally protected life begin and is it adequately protected by our laws?