Adonis Diaries

Archive for January 27th, 2017

What you need to know of Repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

Mindy Baranski shared this link. Yesterday at 1:55pm ·

For those celebrating the forthcoming repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): Just a reminder that even if you are safely ensconced behind employer-provided insurance, the protections set forth in the ACA apply to you, too–

And if those protections are repealed along with the rest (or any part) of the program, you will also be affected.

That means you may be trapped in a job, because your pre-existing condition may mean you will not qualify for new insurance offered by another employer, and the cost of private insurance would be prohibitive.

If your employer shuts down, lays you off, or even changes insurers, well, you are out of luck.

(The Senate GOP voted this week that they would not require an eventual ACA replacement to protect against discrimination for pre-existing conditions, which was the standard before the ACA.)

It means that you (a young adult under the age of 26) or your adult children (over 18) may find yourselves without the protection of insurance, as the Senate GOP voted last night that an eventual ACA replacement will not be required to allow young people to remain on their parents’ insurance up to the age of 26.

It means that if you have a high-risk pregnancy, or life-threatening illness such as cancer, you may Not be able to afford all the care you need, because you may hit lifetime or annual caps.

If you have an infant born with any kind of severe medical condition, or premature, they may hit their lifetime insurance cap before they are old enough to walk.

The Senate GOP voted last night that an eventual ACA replacement program would not be required to prohibit lifetime insurance caps.

It means that if you are a struggling parent who is un- or underinsured, you will no longer be able to count on at least your kids getting the routine medical and dental care they need under the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP).

The Senate GOP voted that CHIP is not required to be protected by an eventual ACA replacement.

These provisions of the ACA affect everyone in this country, not just those without insurance through their employers.

If you are not okay with these changes, call your representatives and Senators and let them know what’s important to you.

Nothing has been set in stone yet, but our legislators have shown us a map of what they plan to do if constituents don’t make their voices heard loud and clear. (Telphone # 202-224-3121)

Notes and comments on FB and Twitter. Part 17

I don’t mind a broken day-dream. Just badly need to recollect any dream I ever had

Defeat is Not in the realm of many: Got to act on your beliefs to earn this opportunity: to dance hysterically.

They stole the 10 commandments, and erased the 11th: You were born Free.

Don’t fret too much: it is common events that changed the direction of your destiny

Even very sad circumstances were prepared as a feast

Love is what happened between us, except literature. Such a large vacuum could have been the best part in our relationship.

Recounting your recollected past events and stands is what precipitate our demise. People don’t care how you changed: They never changed.

That women had no rights to vote or have a bank accounts in the last century didn’t prevent males to think that women deserved more consideration, and vice versa. Currently, women have most of the rights, work and go to universities, but the level of “consideration” has shifted direction

“Consideration” is a perception of the others’ mental state: A certified certification of your learning is one of the Minor factors

You were born Free? Take active positions and respect others’ opinions to retain your freedom

“You are courageous?” Does that mean you are as hard as nails? This is a quality that rare people dare to admit they have.

To all Lebanese living in Lebanon, including the wealthy and leaders, Are you addicted to slow death and proud of it?

Just creating this lame excuse of going abroad to earn another certificate or MBA: If you are Not used to read a lot, you are wasting your parents’ dear money for a short outing

Amine Rihani said it concisely: England was the land for the foreign intellectuals persecuted in their countries. They could publish anything they want totally freely. However, the British intellectual was sanctioned if his writings didn’t match the establishment views on traditions.

More bitter than security is who is let to inherit fear.

Tout ce que voit l’homme, il le prend pour un jouet. On ne devient jamais un sage adulte.

East Aleppo must fall quickly: The Hezbollah fighters want a great reason to withdraw to the eastern Lebanon mountain chain to clean our borders from Daesh and Al Nusra

East Aleppo must be retaken quickly and the Syrian army enters Al Baab: Erdogan plans to dominate northern Syrian territory must be checked.

Any religious sect demanding that the ratio of soldiers and officers be commensurate to its size is to tacitly admit that its moral and spiritual forces are waning. It wants an alternative force to retain its domination. This ratio suggestion is Not adapted to keep the community united.

In 1902, 114 years ago, Amin Rihani replied to the reforms of the new Ottoman Moutassarref to Mount Lebanon, Mozaffar Pasha. Rihani’s set of reforms priority was:

1) Establish public educational institutions. The religious clerics Must be forbidden to run or teach in these public schools.

2) Religious clerics must be denied interventions in any civic decisions or civic laws.

3) Public employees must submit to exams and be selected according to their capabilities.

4) Confiscate religious real estates and pay back the private owners who donated their lands.

A good way to end Israel-Palestine

Raising the financial cost of oppression can pave a path to peace: Boycott

As a new round of violence kicks off in Israel-Palestine and more children are killed, it’s not enough just to call for another ceasefire.

It’s time to take definitive non-violent action to end this decades long nightmare.

Our governments have failed — while they have talked peace and passed UN resolutions, they and companies have continued to aid, trade and invest in the violence.

The only way to stop this hellish cycle of Israel confiscating Palestinian lands, daily collective punishment of innocent Palestinian families, and Israel bombing Gaza is to make the economic cost of this conflict too high to bear.

We know it works — when EU countries issued guidelines not to fund the illegal Israeli settlements it caused an earthquake in the cabinet, and when citizens successfully persuaded a Dutch pension fund, PGGM, to withdraw, it created a political storm.

This may not feel like a direct way to stop the current killing, but history tells us that raising the financial cost of oppression can pave a path to peace.

Sign the petition on the right and call on 6 key banks, pension funds and businesses to pull out — If we all take smart action now and turn up the heat, they could withdraw, the Israeli economy will take a hit, and we can turn the calculation of the extremists politically profiting from this hell upside down.

In the last five weeks three Israeli teenagers were murdered in the West Bank, a Palestinian boy was burnt alive, an American kid was brutally beaten up by Israeli police, and now over 40 Gazan kids have died in Israeli air strikes.

This is not the “Middle East conflict”, it’s becoming a war on children. And we are becoming numb to this global shame.

The media makes out like this is an intractable conflict between two equal warring parties, but it is not.

The root of the conflict lies in the dispossession of the Palestinian people.

Israel currently occupies, colonises, bombs, raids, and controls the water, trade and the borders of a legally free nation that has been recognised by the United Nations.

In Gaza, Israel has created the largest open-air prison in the world, and then blockaded it. Now as bombs fall, the families, literally have no way to get out.

These are war crimes and we wouldn’t accept that anywhere else, why accept it in Palestine? Half a century ago Israel and its Arab neighbours went to war and Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza.

Occupying territory after war happens all the time. But no military occupation should turn into a decades long tyranny which only fuels and benefits extremists who use terror to target the innocent. And who suffers? The majority of loving families on both sides that just want freedom and peace.

To many, particularly in Europe and North America, calling for companies to withdraw investments from financing or taking part in Israel’s occupation of Palestine sounds completely biased. But it’s not —

this is the most potent non-violent strategy to end the ritual violence, ensure Israelis’ security and achieve Palestinian freedom.

Israel’s power and wealth dwarfs Palestine, and if it refuses to end its illegal occupation, the world must act to make the cost unbearable.

Dutch pension fund, ABP, invests in Israeli banks that help fund the colonisation of Palestine. Massive banks like Barclays invest in suppliers of Israeli arms and other occupation businesses.

British G4S provides extensive security equipment used by the Israeli Defence Force in the occupation.

France’s Veolia operates transport for Israeli settlers illegally living on Palestinian lands. Computer giant Hewlett-Packard supplies sophisticated surveillance to control the movement of Palestinians.

And Caterpillar provides bulldozers that are used to demolish Palestinian homes and farms.

If we can create the biggest global call ever to get these companies to pull out, we will show clearly that the world will no longer be complicit in this bloodshed.

The Palestinian people are calling on the world to support this path and progressive Israelis support it too. Let’s join them.

Our community has worked to bring peace, hope, and change to some of the world’s toughest conflicts, and often that means taking difficult positions to address the root cause.

For years our community has looked for a political solution to this nightmare, but with this new round of horror unfolding in Gaza, the time has come to turn to sanctions and disinvestment to finally help end the horror for Israelis and Palestinians.

To the CEOs of ABP, HP, Veolia, Barclays, Caterpillar, and G4S:

In the wake of the terrible violence unfolding in Israel-Palestine, we, citizens from around the world, are deeply concerned about your companies’ continued investment in companies and projects that finance illegal settlements and the oppressive occupation of the Palestinian people. 17 EU countries recently issued warnings to their citizens against doing business or investing in illegal Israeli settlements. Given those legal considerations, you now have the opportunity to withdraw investments and respect international law. This is a chance to be on the right side of history.

Doubt essential to faith. And mainly to sciences?

Writing biography is a strange thing to do. It’s a journey into the foreign territory of somebody else’s life, a journey, an exploration that can take you places you never dreamed of going and still can’t quite believe you’ve been, especially if, like me, you’re an agnostic Jew and the life you’ve been exploring is that of Muhammad.

0:40 Five years ago, for instance, I found myself waking each morning in misty Seattle to what I knew was an impossible question: What actually happened one desert night, half the world and almost half of history away?

What happened, that is, on the night in the year 610 when Muhammad received the first revelation of the Koran on a mountain just outside Mecca?

This is the core mystical moment of Islam, and as such, of course, it defies empirical analysis. Yet the question wouldn’t let go of me. I was fully aware that for someone as secular as I am, just asking it could be seen as pure chutzpah. (Laughter)

And I plead guilty as charged, because all exploration, physical or intellectual, is inevitably in some sense an act of transgression, of crossing boundaries.

 Still, some boundaries are larger than others. So a human encountering the divine, as Muslims believe Muhammad did, to the rationalist, this is a matter not of fact but of wishful fiction, and like all of us, I like to think of myself as rational.

Which might be why when I looked at the earliest accounts we have of that night, what struck me even more than what happened was what did not happen. Muhammad did not come floating off the mountain as though walking on air.

He did not run down shouting, “Hallelujah!” and “Bless the Lord!” He did not radiate light and joy. There were no choirs of angels, no music of the spheres, no elation, no ecstasy, no golden aura surrounding him, no sense of an absolute, fore-ordained role as the messenger of God. That is, he did none of the things that might make it easy to cry foul, to put down the whole story as a pious fable.

Quite the contrary. In his own reported words, he was convinced at first that what had happened couldn’t have been real. At best, he thought, it had to have been a hallucination — a trick of the eye or the ear, perhaps, or his own mind working against him.

At worst, possession — that he’d been seized by an evil jinn, a spirit out to deceive him, even to crush the life out of him. In fact, he was so sure that he could only be majnun, possessed by a jinn, that when he found himself still alive, his first impulse was to finish the job himself, to leap off the highest cliff and escape the terror of what he’d experienced by putting an end to all experience.

The man who fled down the mountain that night trembled not with joy but with a stark, primordial fear. He was overwhelmed not with conviction, but by doubt. And that panicked disorientation, that sundering of everything familiar, that daunting awareness of something beyond human comprehension, can only be called a terrible awe.

4:33 This might be somewhat difficult to grasp now that we use the word “awesome” to describe a new app or a viral video. With the exception perhaps of a massive earthquake, we’re protected from real awe. We close the doors and hunker down, convinced that we’re in control, or, at least, hoping for control.

We do our best to ignore the fact that we don’t always have it, and that not everything can be explained. Yet whether you’re a rationalist or a mystic, whether you think the words Muhammad heard that night came from inside himself or from outside, what’s clear is that he did experience them, and that he did so with a force that would shatter his sense of himself and his world and transform this otherwise modest man into a radical advocate for social and economic justice.

Fear was the only sane response, the only human response.

Too human for some, like conservative Muslim theologians who maintain that the account of his wanting to kill himself shouldn’t even be mentioned, despite the fact that it’s in the earliest Islamic biographies. They insist that he never doubted for even a single moment, let alone despaired.

Demanding perfection, they refuse to tolerate human imperfection. Yet what, exactly, is imperfect about doubt? As I read those early accounts, I realized it was precisely Muhammad’s doubt that brought him alive for me, that allowed me to begin to see him in full, to accord him the integrity of reality.

And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense that he doubted, because doubt is essential to faith.

If this seems a startling idea at first, consider that doubt, as Graham Greene once put it, is the heart of the matter. Abolish all doubt, and what’s left is not faith, but absolute, heartless conviction.

You’re certain that you possess the Truth — inevitably offered with an implied uppercase T — and this certainty quickly devolves into dogmatism and righteousness, by which I mean a demonstrative, overweening pride in being so very right, in short, the arrogance of fundamentalism.

It has to be one of the multiple ironies of history that a favorite expletive of Muslim fundamentalists is the same one once used by the Christian fundamentalists known as Crusaders: “infidel,” from the Latin for “faithless.”

Doubly ironic, in this case, because their absolutism is in fact the opposite of faith. In effect, they are the infidels. Like fundamentalists of all religious stripes, they have no questions, only answers. They found the perfect antidote to thought and the ideal refuge of the hard demands of real faith.

They don’t have to struggle for it like Jacob wrestling through the night with the angel, or like Jesus in his 40 days and nights in the wilderness, or like Muhammad, not only that night on the mountain, but throughout his years as a prophet, with the Koran constantly urging him not to despair, and condemning those who most loudly proclaim that they know everything there is to know and that they and they alone are right.

Yet we, the vast and still far too silent majority, have ceded the public arena to this extremist minority. We’ve allowed Judaism to be claimed by violently messianic West Bank settlers, Christianity by homophobic hypocrites and misogynistic bigots, Islam by suicide bombers. And we’ve allowed ourselves to be blinded to the fact that no matter whether they claim to be Christians, Jews or Muslims, militant extremists are none of the above.

They’re a cult all their own, blood brothers steeped in other people’s blood.

This isn’t faith. It’s fanaticism, and we have to stop confusing the two. We have to recognize that real faith has no easy answers. It’s difficult and stubborn. It involves an ongoing struggle, a continual questioning of what we think we know, a wrestling with issues and ideas. It goes hand in hand with doubt, in a never-ending conversation with it, and sometimes in conscious defiance of it.

This conscious defiance is why I, as an agnostic, can still have faith. I have faith, for instance, that peace in the Middle East is possible despite the ever-accumulating mass of evidence to the contrary. I’m not convinced of this. I can hardly say I believe it. I can only have faith in it, commit myself, that is, to the idea of it, and I do this precisely because of the temptation to throw up my hands in resignation and retreat into silence.

Because despair is self-fulfilling.

If we call something impossible, we act in such a way that we make it so. And I, for one, refuse to live that way. In fact, most of us do, whether we’re atheist or theist or anywhere in between or beyond, for that matter, what drives us is that, despite our doubts and even because of our doubts, we reject the nihilism of despair.

We insist on faith in the future and in each other. Call this naive if you like. Call it impossibly idealistic if you must. But one thing is sure: Call it human.

Could Muhammad have so radically changed his world without such faith, without the refusal to cede to the arrogance of closed-minded certainty? I think not.

After keeping company with him as a writer for the past five years, I can’t see that he’d be anything but utterly outraged at the militant fundamentalists who claim to speak and act in his name in the Middle East and elsewhere today.

He’d be appalled at the repression of half the population because of their gender. He’d be torn apart by the bitter divisiveness of sectarianism.

He’d call out terrorism for what it is, not only criminal but an obscene travesty of everything he believed in and struggled for. He’d say what the Koran says: Anyone who takes a life takes the life of all humanity. Anyone who saves a life, saves the life of all humanity. And he’d commit himself fully to the hard and thorny process of making peace

Patsy Z shared this link

“Real faith has no easy answers. It involves an ongoing struggle, a continual questioning of what we think we know.”

t.ted.com|By Lesley Hazleton

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