For those of you celebrating your religious holiday today may you have a Happy Passover and a Happy Easter. The fact that the two holidays are happening on the same weekend is rare but not without president. What it may do is call more attention to the fact of the linkage of the two holidays. But, you didn't come here for that...let's go.
Your Dues is Due
Speaking of faith, the United Methodist Church is going through a dues issue. According to the Associated Press dues collection by the UMC is down this year by about 20%. Reason? The recent flap regarding LGBTQ individuals being banned from serving the church has some of the more liberal congregations withholding their support. In the same report the AP discloses that when the vote was taken the ban won by a vote of the delegates 438-384. However the U.S. delegates overwhelmingly voted against the ban but when votes came in from Africa and the Philippines it was enough to enact. It would seem that, perhaps, the church is headed toward a split much like what happened with the Lutherans several years ago...over the same issue. (Photo UMC Church Fort Collins, CO - The Coloradoan)
The Mueller Report
Not much more can be written about this that has not already been done by hundreds of pundits. Smoking gun? Nope. Wack job in the White House. Yep...but we already knew that. What is troubling is how far Attorney General William Barr has gone to be, not the attorney for the American people but the attorney for "45". We now know that the four page "summary" was an attempt to provide cover to the president and was inaccurate and misleading on many fronts. Of course now that Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has issued a congressional subpoena for the unredacted report we'll see how this plays out. But, I wouldn't expect Barr to cooperate. More likely we'll see more stalling.
What Is Next
If I were running a campaign I wouldn't bring up the president unless asked and then only respond in an oblique way. Why? I'm convinced that the vast majority of Americans are weary of focusing on this man and that by doing so we miss the opportunity to hammer home on those "kitchen table" issues that impact their lives. So, what are they? Let's go:
There is not a hotter topic among businesses and families than the current broken and obscene health care system in this country. Small businesses, and even some larger ones, are getting hammered by 15 to 24 percent increases in health care insurance rates every year. It is not sustainable...period. I don't care if you work in a cubicle or on the farm you realize you are one medical bill away from poverty. That is not how it should be in this country.
Let me share with you just how obscene our current system is. Last week David Wichman the CEO of UnitedHealth Care, which insures some 49 million Americans, said that Medicare for All would "disrupt the health care system and provide major increases in costs without providing more care to American families". No, really, the guy that last year had a compensation package of $17.3 million actually said that. And, know what? Health care STOCKS lost about $29 billion in value over the next two days because investors are getting the hint that our current system is unsustainable and are bailing.
I want you to think about that for a moment. Publicly traded companies exist for the sole purpose of returning a profit to investors. That your health care insurance company cares more about its investors than your health is obscene. $29 billion would go a very long way toward fixing what is broken..
Democrats need to take this seriously and hammer it home day after day after day. The GOP has gutted educational spending in every state they control and now the focus is on diverting tax dollars to private religious or for-profit schools. I have no problem if you want to send your kid to the religious school be it Catholic, Protestant, Islamic or Jewish but you should pay for it...not the American people. Democrats must return to solutions that end the pain of school loans that burden people for decades without being able to negotiate rates while also holding up the Trade Unions and their excellent programs that provide training in jobs that actually pay better than many that require a Bachelor's Degree.
Enough killing off working families with law that allow states to be "Right to Work". It is corporate slavery and it is wrong. For three weeks I have asked you to defend your view that people should not be paid a living wage or be allowed to join unions and collectively bargain for wages and benefits and try to square that with the teachings of your church. Not one of my conservative friends care to debate this issue because they know they are wrong. When more people make more money they will spend it and that will lift the economy of everyone. It ain't that hard.
Equal Pay - Equal Work
This, too, isn't hard and most Americans believe that if you put in a day of work you should be paid equally be you a woman, man, black white or green. Enough of subjecting non-white males to lower pay just because you can. Americans know what is fair and what is not and the system that pays others a fraction of white men is just plain wrong.
This one really pisses me off. One of the political parties in the United States tries everything they can to suppress the vote and it is happening right in front of your eyes. Americans don't approve. It doesn't matter if you live in Elkader, Iowa or Los Angeles, California the people smell the rottenness of voter suppression and they need to be assured their vote matters.
I get it and so do you. When a bunch of men make rules about what a woman can or can not do when it comes to health care is like slave owners telling their property what they can and can not do. Most people believe these are issues that are best left to the people who are impacted at the moment. Do I support choice. Yes. Would I counsel my daughter to, at all costs, avoid an abortion. Yes. But in the end that decision is not mine.
What Doesn't Play Well
This is going to upset some folks but there is an issue that doesn't play well. That is the question of guns. The Democrats are never, never going to swing that argument in rural parts of the country especially if the focus of the issue is banning. However most Americans, rural to urban, think that sensible gun laws like background checks, insurance policies and keeping firearms out of the hands of unstable individuals makes sense. I'd leave it at that. Oh, one more thing. Know why some uphold the whole gun debate and cling to the Second Amendment? The firearms industry is a $52 billion business. Now you know.
It's been "lotsa matzah" over the past couple of days. Friday night our family Seder lasted well into the late night. Last night I was honored to lead a Community Seder for the Jewish Congregation of Adas Israel in Mason City where about fifty people came to experience the Passover. As always, there were many who had never been to a Seder and I hope they came away from the three hour service with a better understanding of their faith as well as mine. There is great responsibility when it comes to teaching and when you add religion to the mix it becomes even more important to be as clear as possible. It was a good night.
Political gossip is that Rep. Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) may be leaving the Iowa Legislature. The story is that she has accepted a big-time job with a right-wing organization and will spend her time lobbying at the Statehouse. Stay tuned.
Thanks for reading and have a fantastic Sunday.