Scotties Toy Box

January 21, 2020

Take a moment

Filed under: Cartoons, Education, Memes, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 05:03

January 20, 2020

Schiff accuses NSA, CIA of withholding documents on Ukraine

Filed under: Criminal, Education, Fascism, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 06:26

tRump has created a government of one for the benefit of himself.   He has short circuited all attempts to have a functioning government, to have the system set up by the history of our country.   He has minimized the Congress with the idea of getting rid of it.  He has replaced civil servants with his own henchmen.  He uses his own private people to do the government functions because the actions are illegal.  He has done his best to create an authoritarian one person one party government such as china has.   Be worried people.    Hugs

“They appear to be succumbing to pressure from the administration,” Rep. Adam Schiff said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.″ Schiff was selected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as the lead impeachment manager for Trump’s Senate trial.

Schiff, D-Calif., contended that the National Security Agency “in particular is withholding what are potentially relevant documents to our oversight responsibilities on Ukraine, but also withholding documents potentially relevant that the senators might want to see during the trial. That is deeply concerning.” He also said “there are signs that the CIA may be on the same tragic course.”

Democrats have previously criticized the State Department for withholding relevant documents to the impeachment inquiry. In the weeks since Trump was impeached, Democrats have sought to focus on new evidence about Trump’s effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals and are pushing the Senate to consider new documents and testimony, such as from former national security adviser John Bolton.

During the ABC interview, Schiff was asked about a Politico report that said intelligence officials were pushing the House and Senate Intelligence committees to drop the public portion of an annual briefing on world security threats following last year’s session in which Trump lashed out over the assessments on North Korea, Iran and the Islamic State.

The request was reportedly being made in a bid to avoid a repeat in which intelligence officials might publicly disagree with Trump on the security risks.

“The intelligence community is reluctant to have an open hearing, something that we had done every year prior to the Trump administration, because they’re worried about angering the president,” he said.

January 19, 2020

To be clear, compare

Filed under: Cartoons, Criminal, Education, Greed, History, Memes, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 18:10

Open opportunities

Filed under: Cartoons, Economics, Education, Memes, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 07:14

We have a lot to lose

Filed under: Cartoons, Economics, Education, Fascism, Health, Memes, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 07:02

January 17, 2020

Missouri Bill Would Jail Librarians Who Let Kids Check Out “Inappropriate” Books

Again another Christian attempt to force everyone to live by the doctrines of their religion.  They do not care about other parents wishes, LGBTQ+ kids who need to information or see someone like themselves in stories.   They do not care about religious people who have different views from them.  They only crave the power to oppress those you do not like.   Hugs

How would that even work? Baker lays it all out in the bill: Public libraries would have to create a five-member “parental library review board,” via an election, for a two-year term. Those parents would get to decide what’s “age-inappropriate sexual material.” Kids would then be blocked from checking out whatever books are on their list.

If librarians violate any of these rules, they would be subject to a fine of up to $500 or a year in jail.

In theory, then, a heavily Christian community could elect a board that says books featuring LGBTQ characters are “inappropriate.” And then if librarians allow kids to check out Heather Has Two Mommies or I Am Jazz — books meant to help kids understand LGBTQ identities — they would be severely punished for it.

All because a group of conservative parents with sticks up their asses decide to play censor instead of letting kids follow their own curiosity or deferring to the wisdom and expertise of professional librarians.

This isn’t the first time Baker’s had a dumb idea. Years ago, he tried defending a giant Christian cross on public property. Last year, he pushed for Bible classes in school. That bill passed the State House but not the State Senate.

Now, rather than calling for book-burning, he’s just trying to find a loophole that allows Christian bigots to block kids from learning more about topics he doesn’t like.

Knowledge is power. Unless you’re a Christian like him, in which case, it’s the enemy.

January 14, 2020

Trump’s authoritarian assault on democracy continues: What lies ahead?

Filed under: Criminal, Education, Fascism, Greed, History, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 11:58

There is more at the link below.   I did clip some of the answers but not the questions, so please go read the article if the clips interest you.  I found the information spot on about tRump and what may happen in the future rings true to me.    Hugs

Fascism scholar Ruth Ben-Ghiat: If Trump wins again, America will be “ready for full-on authoritarian rule”

The Republican Party is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump’s regime and an expression of his personal will and power. To that end, Trump has promised financial support to the Republican senators who will soon be voting at his trial. It has also been reported that Trump ordered the execution of Iranian Maj. Gen.  Qassem Soleimani in order to ensure that Republican senators would support his acquittal.

In essence, Donald Trump pays political blood money to his supporters. This is more evidence of Trump’s political thuggery and mobster-style behavior that is unbefitting an American president.

Like other dictators, authoritarians, autocrats and political thugs, Donald Trump believes he is above the law. With the support of Attorney General William Barr, this appears increasingly true.

Trump and his allies label Democrats, liberals, progressives and anyone else opposing him as traitors and enemies of the United States. The most recent example: at a rally last Thursday in Toledo, Trump said that Democrats were “vicious horrible people.”

None of this should be surprising. Trump is following the authoritarian’s playbook almost to the letter in his assault on American democracy, the Constitution and the rule of law. The question is not whether Donald Trump is an authoritarian and would-be dictator but rather whether anything or anyone is capable of stopping him.

The shoe drops slowly, and it is hard for many people to discern what is really happening. This is especially true when there are multiple things happening at one time. For example, William Barr and his attacks on the rule of law and how he is part of this right-wing Christian counterrevolution in America. Yes, Trump is impeached, and that is a type of pushback against him and his forces. What judges are doing to slow down Trump’s agenda is very important too. It is very important to not give up because that is what authoritarians want the public to do.

Authoritarian leaders want you to believe that resistance is futile and that you should just give up. If we give up and resign ourselves to the conclusion that impeaching Trump is not going to have an effect, then he has won. Impeachment is extremely important because it will be on the record, marked in the history books as opposition to Trump and his agenda.

Donald Trump is an example of someone who comes up in history, and the way forward has been prepared for him, in this instance by the Tea Party and the Republican Party.

The road was already prepared for Trump by eight years of Barack Obama and how that created a type of mass anger and rage and panic among many white people. People like Donald Trump appear in history and their role is to undo social and political progress. Trump is a figure who is trying to undo everything that Barack Obama stood for and accomplished. But of course, historical figures such as Donald Trump add something new. Trump comes in and he has a “movement.” Trump does not have a political party. At first, Trump said that he was above politics. This is another common thread among authoritarians.

It is no accident that during the impeachment process Donald Trump has said that he is going to stay in office for 28 years. Of course, that is not physiologically possible. But what matters is the fantasy, because Trump is terrified right now. Leaders of that type create fortresses around themselves in a million ways. They do this with flatterers, lackeys and family. Authoritarian leaders like Trump do not want to hear any criticism. They also want and need total control over people because that settles the anxiety.

Trump does this in other ways as well. He does not have permanent appointees. This means they do not have to be confirmed by the Senate. Authoritarian leaders are actually terrified and brittle people inside. That is why they retreat inward. Donald Trump will not take any real questions from the news media. The authoritarian leader’s ego will not permit any questions, and the longer they stay in charge the worse it gets for a country because they lose all sense of reality. Leaders like Donald Trump make bad decisions, such as starting wars. One of the things that scares me the most is that Donald Trump is extremely destructive. Authoritarian leaders like Donald Trump delight in being destructive. Sometimes such people are also self-destructive.

The civil service has been purged and ruined under the Trump administration. The civil service makes government work. The State Department is a particularly sad example. Career civil servants have been purged because of ideological tests. This can take the form of leader loyalty — which is an ideology of loyalty. It could mean Trump removing experts who know that climate change is real. Civil rights as well. For example, The Department of Health and Human Services under Trump now has a “civil rights office” devoted to the “rights” of right-wing Christian evangelicals who believe their freedom is violated by doctors who agree to perform abortions. The state has been hollowed out. Expertise is gone and ideology rules. The state, the government bureaucracy and civil service are now just a vehicle for the authoritarian leader’s goals.

This brings up the question of madness versus method. One of the objections that gets leveled at people who offer these types of analyses about Trump and authoritarianism is, “No, Trump’s just impulsive.” He’s not mentally ill. He may have some dementia, but he knows exactly what he’s doing. Trump’s spokespeople have been very clear that Trump wants his own intelligence and security services.

Such goals are part of the counterrevolution that has been slowly chipping away at democratic institutions, norms and laws under Trump and the Republican Party. Trump is going after the country’s trust in the FBI and intelligence services. All the relevant structures of government that could obstruct what Trump wants to do are being chipped away. What Trump has been doing up to this point is not at all an accident in that regard.

It takes a lot of time to prepare the public for such an outcome. It requires information and psychological warfare. Trump is very expert in those areas. Chip away at reality and objectivity, and then the public is ready for full-on authoritarian rule. The Nazis knew this very well. The public must be shaped and prepared. This is what Goebbels excelled at. The Russians excel at it. Once the public is shaped and prepared, the authoritarian regime can do what it wants.



Taiwan’s single-payer success story — and its lessons for America

Filed under: Economics, Education, Health, News, Political, Questions, Reason, Science, Things I like — Scottie @ 11:36

There is much more information at the link, it is a long read but worth it.   Some good things, and it explains some of the harder choices.  It is do able and it has really improved the health of the people.   But there are strains and it will need price increases, which from a US view point are inconceivably low.    The say a co-pay is about 12 dollars.   Remember though our country is much wealthier.   Anyway I found the article fascinating.   Hugs

Diabetes, alcoholism, and heart disease are common problems among the Taroko. The indigenous people have endured displacement, forced assimilation, and discrimination over the centuries. They are also poorer than the ethnically Han Chinese who make up most of Taiwan’s population.

But they never have to worry about one thing: their health care. In Taiwan, everybody is covered. The Taiwanese health care system is built on the belief that everyone deserves health care, in Xiulin just as much as anywhere else. The costs to patients are minimal. And the government has set up special programs to deliver care to the people in Xiulin and their neighbors in Hualien County.

In the 1990s, Taiwan did what has long been considered impossible in the US: The island of 24 million people took a fractured and inequitable health care system and transformed it into something as close to Sen. Bernie Sanders’s vision of Medicare-for-all as anything in the world.

There’s clearly a need for lessons. Compared to the rest of the developed world, America spends more money on health care and produces worse outcomes. By one advanced metric — mortality for causes that should be avoidable with accessible, high-quality health care — the United States ranked last among the G7 countries in 2016. America’s infant mortality rate is almost double that of some of its peers. Nearly one in 10 Americans lack insurance. People go bankrupt over medical bills. Yet Americans still spend about twice as much money on health care per capita as the average comparable country.

No health care system is perfect. But most of America’s economic peers have figured out a way to deliver truly universal coverage and quality care. The United States has not.

“Canada and virtually all European and Asian developed nations have reached, decades ago, a political consensus to treat health care as a social good,” health care economist Uwe Reinhardt wrote in his book Priced Out shortly before his death in 2017. “By contrast, we in the United States have never reached a politically dominant consensus on the issue.”

Taiwan made its choice in the 1990s and embraced single-payer. It has required sacrifice: by doctors who believe they’re forced to see too many patients every day; by patients with complex and costly conditions who can’t always access the latest treatments; by citizens who have been asked from time to time, and will be asked again, to pay more for their health care than they did before.

The national government would eventually fast-track the implementation of the new system to 1995, hoping to get the chaotic transition period over before the first popular elections in 1996. There was plenty of skepticism leading up to it. Industry, experts, and the public alike doubted the program would succeed. Labor protesters threw paper money traditionally used in a funerary rite when the legislature passed the single-payer bill in 1994. A majority of people in Taiwan disapproved of the single-payer plan when it took effect.

But the program’s reputation quickly improved once people started to enjoy its benefits. Approval has dipped (when premiums were hiked in the 2000s) and risen (when the rural health care program that employs Tien in Xiulin was implemented) over the years, but there has always been a solid baseline of support. Today, approval of the national health insurance program hovers near its all-time high, over 80 percent. The system endures 25 years after it was established.

Part of its appeal is its simplicity. Everybody in Taiwan is insured through the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA). They receive an ID card as proof of coverage, which also stores their medical records. The Taiwanese program runs with extraordinary efficiency: About 1 percent of its funding is spent on administration, according to a 2015 review by Cheng. (Compare that to the US, where researchers have estimated that private insurers spend around 12 percent of overhead, and hospitals spend around 25 percent on administrative work.) Experts say Taiwan’s advanced IT infrastructure deserves a good share of the credit.

The benefits are quite comprehensive: hospital care, primary care, prescription drugs, traditional Chinese medicine. Patients must make copays when they visit the doctor or fill a prescription or go to the ER, but they are generally low, 360 NTD (about $12) or less. Lower-income patients are given an additional break on their cost-sharing obligations. Higher-income patients can take out private insurance for certain things not covered by the single-payer program.

The system is mostly funded by payroll-based premiums, with contributions from workers and their employers, supplemented by more progressive income taxes and tobacco and lottery levies. Premiums have been raised twice in the past 18 years to cover the growing cost of the program. The most recent rate increase in 2010 moved the payroll income tax rate from 4.55 percent to 5.17, a 14 percent increase.

In the early 2000s, again at Reinhardt’s recommendation, Taiwan converted to global budgets to pay for health care as another cost-control measure. This means that every year, government officials and private providers sit across a table and negotiate rates for services, with an annual cap set on the total payments to hospitals and doctors that the government will make. Health spending has stayed flat in recent years as a percentage of GDP, and it is growing at a slower rate in Taiwan than in the United States.

“That’s the essence of universal health coverage,” he says. “The principle of health [as a] human right is that everybody regardless of geography, religion, gender, age should have the right to access.”

January 10, 2020

This says it all

Filed under: Cartoons, Children, Education, Memes, News, Political, Questions — Scottie @ 09:46

January 7, 2020

New Video Shows Border Patrol Account of Child’s Death Was Not True

Filed under: Bigotry, Children, Criminal, Education, Facts, Family, Fascism, Health, News, Political, Questions, Race — Scottie @ 08:51

*** Warning, this video show the last hours of the boys life.  While it is not gruesome it does show his last moments.   Please be safe as this could trigger some people.  Hugs ***


Exclusive: New Video Shows Border Patrol Account of Child’s Death Was Not True

Video obtained by ProPublica shows the Border Patrol held a sick teen in a concrete cell without proper medical attention and did not discover his body until his cellmate alerted guards. The video doesn’t match the Border Patrol’s account of his death.




January 5, 2020

For those who have forgotten the past 40 years:

Filed under: Cartoons, Economics, Education, Memes, News, Political, Questions — Scottie @ 15:34

Trump’s Biggest Fox News Boosters Suddenly Stop Railing Against ‘Deep State’ Intelligence

Filed under: Criminal, Education, Fascism, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 10:54

This clearly shows it is all a scam and game to them.   They never believed in the idea of a deep state working against tRump.   It was a talking point, a straight out lie.   And a lot of people in the country believe it.    Hugs

Immediately after the Pentagon confirmed U.S. responsibility for the strike, claiming it “was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans,” Fox News host Sean Hannity—perhaps the most well-known “deep state” critic in media—heaped praise upon the intelligence community.

“The ability of the military, our intelligence community, the State Department, and the president making the call, very quickly, you know, understood that the Iranian forces on the ground bore a direct threat to the American people,” said Hannity, calling into his own show on Thursday night. “Once the intelligence was confirmed, once the understanding that they were there to sow the discord and discontent, the president acted as quickly as possible, taking out this top general.”

“But I will say the big headline is, this is a huge victory for American intelligence, a huge victory for our military, a huge victory for the State Department, and a huge victory and total leadership by the president,” the primetime host, who has spent more than two years and countless on-air segments railing against shadowy “deep state” intelligence, concluded.

Some context on Trump assassinating Qassem Soleimani

Filed under: Cartoons, Criminal, Education, Fascism, Memes, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 10:25

January 1, 2020

The real history

Filed under: Bigotry, Cartoons, Education, Hate, History, Memes, News, Political, Questions, Race — Scottie @ 05:21

If white people faced …

December 28, 2019

Kids at Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Schools in NYC Suffered Due to Political Inaction

Filed under: Children, Criminal, Education, News, Political, Questions, Religion — Scottie @ 07:44

Spoiler alert: Some kids graduated without being able to write their own names. Hugs

Kids at Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Schools in NYC Suffered Due to Political Inaction

For nearly five years, students at ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in New York City suffered while local officials delayed the results of an investigation into whether they were being taught basic educational skills for political reasons.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (below) was accused of “political horse trading” in connection to the delay of an Education Department investigation into yeshivas, according to the New York Times. We covered these schools last year when it was revealed that their education standards continued to slip in part because English, math, and science are widely considered “profane” among Hasidics.

After a report revealed that only two of 28 schools met state education standards, and that the reasons for the delayed investigation included de Blasio’s political connections to certain Orthodox Jewish leaders, the New York Times editorial board raised the question of whether he put politics ahead of students.

While the mayor dithered, children suffered. Years passed before city school investigators saw the insides of the classrooms where former students, teachers and parents said children weren’t learning basic skills.

Yeshiva officials were treated with kid gloves, allowed to put off visits by investigators even as some former students said they graduated unable to write their names.

December 26, 2019

Smarter than a third grader

Filed under: Cartoons, Children, Education, Memes, News, Political, Questions — Scottie @ 07:22

They work hard to get as low as their base

Filed under: Bigotry, Education, Fascism, Hate, News, Political, Questions — Scottie @ 06:52

“Low-key shittiness is now a rite of passage for calling yourself a Republican,” Schneider writes. “And with a tidal wave of nonsense coming from the right on a daily basis, it’s impossible to correct the micro-idiocies. And so, here we are.”

In order to be considered a true Republican in 2019, Schneider notes, one needn’t “spend time ruminating on the proper role of government intervention in our lives. You just have to publicly celebrate anti-knowledge because it drives the DemocRATS nuts” (DemocRATS is one of the cutesy anti-liberal insults one often encounters on alt-right websites).

Schneider wraps up his Bulwark article on a humorous note, observing that Hawley feels obligated to downplay his education in order to appeal to supporters of President Donald Trump.

December 25, 2019

They stole it as no one wanted theirs

Filed under: Cartoons, Education, History, Memes, Questions, Religion — Scottie @ 04:56

December 23, 2019

What strong economy? Health care costs are destroying American families

Filed under: Children, Criminal, Economics, Education, Family, Greed, Health, News, Political, Questions, Reason — Scottie @ 05:10

Can we afford universal health care? A mounting burden of medical debt suggests we can’t afford not to have it

But because our national news prism is in the clutches of the corporate news media, which feeds off ad revenue from Big Pharma and the health care industry, that story won’t surface — even though the greed and corruption in both sectors is economically eating Americans alive and putting their actual lives in jeopardy.

Right now, the most underreported of all economic stories is that the anemic wage gains posted by American workers have been entirely devoured, and then some, by the Trump era’s spike in health care premiums and drug costs.

And the “code blue” headline is that a record number of Americans, according to the Gallup Poll, are opting to put off treatment for a serious medical condition because of the anticipated cost.

“A record 25% of Americans say they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost, up from 19% a year ago and the highest in Gallup’s trend,” the polling outfit said in a press release. “Another 8% said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition, bringing the total percentage of households delaying care due to costs to 33%, tying the high from 2014.”

“The average premium for family coverage has increased 22 percent over the last five years and 54 percent over the last ten years, significantly more than either workers’ wages or inflation,” according to an annual survey by the Kaiser Foundation of employer-sponsored health coverage.

The Kaiser survey provides a uniquely detailed analysis and is based on more than 2,000 interviews with public and private firms. It reported that annual premiums for employer-sponsored health care plans reached $20,576 this year, an increase of 5%, “with workers on average paying $6,015 toward the cost of their coverage.”

The ever upward march of premiums is not the only way consumers are being devoured by an industry whose entire model is to take as much money from consumers as possible and pay out as little as they possibly can.

Almost all workers in these plans not only share in the premium cost but have to absorb an annual deductible. That too has increased rapidly, Kaiser reports, by 36% over the last five years and a remarkable 100% over the last 10 years.

In August, US News and World Report reported that drugs prescribed to treat multiple sclerosis, which cost $8,000 to $11,000 per year in the 1990s, now cost $80,000 a year.

“Altogether, the researchers estimate that MS drugs cost the Medicare program $4.4 billion in 2016 — up from $397 million a decade earlier. Patients’ annual share of the cost soared from $19 million to almost $150 million,” US News and World Report reported.

This year the New York Times reported that Americans borrowed $88 billion in 2018 to cover health care costs. What ACA apologists won’t tell you is that even after passage of that landmark legislation, health care costs have continued to drive an estimated 530,000 people every year into bankruptcy. In fact, medical expenses are the leading cause of U.S. bankruptcies.

Much more at the article.   This is important information we need to help people under stand.   The healthcare system is crashing and dying in the US.  It needs radical change or there will only be healthcare for the wealthiest people.   Hugs

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