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.