Who knew Social Security and Medicare could be eliminated via a Tweet and an Executive Order.

Shining a light into the darkness.

Last night, after a passionately penned response to Trump’s newest publicity stunt. With his currently planned “executive orders”. I was asked,”Could you be anymore dramatic?”

Those of you who know me personally know, although passionate- I am a lot of things but dramatic isn’t one of them.

The portion of the posed executive orders since there is more than one thought brewing in his (or who ever is puppeteering his plans.) But, the portion regarding the limiting of payroll tax for people making under 104k a year. In 2018, that 69.6% of American- almost 70% of Americans make less than 100k a year, with 22% making between 100-200k and just 8% making over that – this is the lumped in version of that but that is pretty staggering. So, 70% of Americans would qualify to have their payroll taxes go on “Holiday”…

Holiday- it is a beautiful word, it brings to mind either fun times and family gatherings or exciting Jaunts to the mountains, oceans or islands or a cruise to some exotic destination. But, Holiday here means – deferred…. it is deceptive at best to not just say deferred. I am not questioning anyone’s intelligence but deferred does NOT mean eliminated. It means stopped “until” – until what- sometime in the future at which the government seems safe for repayment. (I will return to this thought)

I was told last night many things, but essentially that I was ignorant, full of hate, brainwashed, pathetic and that Trump and his family have sacrificed so much including their pay for this country and the Democrats and liberals are liars and Obama divided this country. I received this from 3 or 4 woman who do not know me but who live in the State that I do, because this payroll tax “holiday” portents disaster…

So with the Cares Act, starting June 30th employers are able to defer their portion of their tax responsibility until the end of the year. Keep this in mind as you read further, the employer already can defer- it’s been agreed upon, with the responsibility to repay 50% before the end of 2021 and the rest in 2022. Trump’s executive order, implies that he will have the treasury stop withholding FICA taxes from the employees who make less than 104k a year. Reading and re-reading this mans words, as He says, “if re-elected, I plan to terminate these taxes.” The press and others feel this implies he is going to terminate FICA and this may be what he means, at this point I don’t know- what I do feel this implies though, this is coined in a way that is a double edge sword or a veiled threat. This deferment is a temporary flow into the pockets of the most needy Americans and a temporary flow of money into the economy- (essentially it also allows for more money in the pockets of the companies/corporations as well) with the corporate part of America these are monies that they are supposed to be budgeted for regardless of their financial state is the requirement of doing business. With people or individuals in this time of strife and need will provide on the high end an extra 250 dollars every two weeks(that will be taxed by the IRS) and this is for the people making the max 104k. So, if attached to a 12 month calendar that would be $6,448- before taxes at the 6.2% which is the employees portion of just the social security portion of their deductions.

So FICA is the tax dollars that feed the coffers of Social Security. If, from now until December 31, it is withheld from the employees that is from 807 to 950 billion dollars. Steven Mnuchin, says (at this point) that Social Security will continue to be funded by “Federal Funds” still our tax dollars- or loans from our “Allies” who are become few and far between. So- up to 950Billion dollars that Trump says “if he is re-elected he will Terminate.”

Terminate- This is where the double edge sword/veiled threat comes in. The GOP has been against Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid since it inception. In the near past they have done their damnedest to dismantle it or mar its inner workings calling it Arcane and “Entitlements”. Trying and achieving many alterations- including means testing, changes in eligibility and attempting to privatize the accounts. Trump reported from the beginning of his original campaign that he was the only candidate to not want to cut “Social Security or Medicare” now he wants to give a payroll tax “Holiday” for 70% of the Americans- at best 197 to 500 dollars a month. This is not a great deal of money from an individual stance but as a whole- it is enough if “terminated” will bankrupt Social Security and Medicare day one. If it is not “terminated” and these individuals that this small amount of income has “helped” will be required to be repaid- there is zero in writing in how that is planned and anyone who needs that money as it sits is not going to magically have the ability to repay it in 6 months or a year.

The House had a plan in place for a weeks and the Senate and White House would not agree and were stonewalling it, refusing to consider what was agreed upon in a bipartisan manner. The WH was waiting for the moment to take the position that the Democrats were asking for too much and/or not enough- to use this opportunity to attempt to regain his popularity and demonize the Democrats. Now he actively using the pandemic as a platform for his campaign, in the absence of strategy to actually fight a virus who has killed more than 162,000 Americans.

Trump, literally has no right to reallocate funds, the executive branch of this country does not have Constitutional power to control the allocation of tax dollors. If this tax holiday goes into effect and IF he is re-elected and able to “terminate” these taxes, he will literally have destroyed the infrastructure of our Government and the safety net of millions of people whom have already paid into the system- setting the precedent that House has relinquished it rights to control allocation of money in our government and that HE has the supreme power and is able to overrule everything that Congress says with the swipe of his pen.

I could go on and on- but it boils down to two veiled words “Holiday” and “Terminate”. We have a “leader” who purports that only he can fix America, with his actions we have become far from “fixed” if this proceeds as he proposes we will potentially loose the safety net of millions and the system that has been paid into by all of our retirement age individuals, many of whom if Social Security goes belly up will have absolutely no resources. This isn’t their safety net- this isn’t their “entitlements” it is their lives. If it does not bankrupt Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare the people who file taxes next year are potentially going to be left with a bill from the Government that they will be paying back with interest for years to come.

No Longer, “We the People”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY!

This is no longer a union of the people it is a union of the corporations.

The government is no longer of the people and for the people…. and until it is put back into that formulation we will continue down this rabbit hole and the rich will get richer and the poor poorer.

The people following the “leaders” both democrat and republican and think they are working for them do not understand that unless we elect people who truly want reform- we will not improve. This Is at every level of the government not just about the president. This isn’t about Trump, Biden or Bernie- it is about true down and dirty change.

When we talk about social reform – for the police, the schools, and healthcare people become defensive because of what they have been taught to believe or think they know about how things should work.

“We the People” now work for the royal we, the government… we pay THEM to keep us subservient and “in our place” and we pay to stock pile weapons and the military (not take care of our military mind you) and we pay billions upon billions of dollars to keep the rich, rich and make them richer. The intent was that the government would work for “We the People” but we strayed from that path along the way due to greed of those who isolated the power and wealth to a few at the detriment of the many.

Our taxes should be going to make the country better – people are convinced that health care for all will be the end of our country and slip us into a socialist society and that if it is put in place they will pay more money and lose more coverage. They are constantly barraged with false scenarios of scarcity and wait times by those that stand to gain the most in the current mode. We the people do not understanding what we are paying for now in private coverage today is greater than what our taxes would be to make healthcare a right and public nationwide. Too many of we the people have lost the theme of help thy neighbor, so they don’t want their taxes going to help the poor “They (the poor) should try harder” and feel that we already do far too much for those less fortunate even as the government has steadily eroded our social safety nets for years through cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and every other program designed to feed, shelter or assist we the people.

We are failing as a society because the government has convinced us that if we work harder and smarter we to can be part of that 1%… where all they are doing is attempting to keep people who are down down- and make more people for the “working class” and between the attempts to control a woman’s body and racism – they even have the church and white supremacist convinced to do their dirty work.

I know this sounds like a conspiracy theory but look at this in the big picture- from the outside looking in…

Real change is required in our society and our government or “We the People” will be redefined as “We the Rich” and the “People” will be expendable as evidenced by the current push to open the economy.

Protesting in America’s New Social Media Era

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Pexels.com

The world we live in seems to be more connected every day, but as a society we are more disconnected than ever. I have been far too silent for far too long and that ends today. In order to begin a dialogue, I am posing a hypothetical scenario and series of questions to launch the conversation. I am interested in people’s honest opinions on Protesting in America’s New Social Media Era. No, I’m not looking to start a fight, instead I want to hear how people relate to and see the role of protesters in our society, regardless of their cause, as we can be at ground zero and see the frontlines like never before.

Scenario:

You are sitting in your home and you read breaking news that a major injustice has occurred, at the national level. There is also news that civil protests have begun, and a march to demonstrate to the those in power that this injustice will not stand. This injustice strikes near to your heart and you feel the call to join in the march and you do.

Upon arriving at the march you see friends, family or coworkers and many people you don’t know but you are not alone in how you feel about this injustice and happily join the march with them emboldened by the sense of unity and continue to the end of the march where the group peacefully stands to be hear in one loud voice, “This will NOT Stand!” Holding your sign high and joining in the chorus of other like you and continue the chant.

Like most protests the city hall or courthouse or police station in which the organizer choose to focus their message is protected by a line of police in riot gear.

The chanting continues for hours awaiting a response from those in power and listening to speeches by new leaders whom are emerging as this injustice comes to light. You are back a ways and can’t see the front but the chanting and speeches continue. The lack of response from the officials you know are there is frustrating. Out of the corner of your eye you see something fly through the air over the crowd into the police , triggering them to begin an advance on the crowd to push them further from the building. The people at the front didn’t even notice the object hurled from the crowd, simply that the police are suddenly pushing them back, yell something you can’t hear over the din of the crowd and raising their guns. There isn’t far for them to retreat as the mass of the crowd doesn’t know to back up so the front line is trapped between and advancing armed force and a wall of protesters that has yet to notice what’s going on. The first group of protester, trapped, turn with hands up and are smashed against the shields and begin fight back as they are pushed to the ground by police, for not obeying their lawful order to disperse.

Seeing the front line of the protest from 200-300 feet back you can not see much of what is happening, only that there is a commotion going on that at first stops the chanting of the most vocal group and then changes to “No Voice! No Peace!” There has been no response from the government officials inside the building. “Pop, pop, pop”, you here what sounds like firecrackers then, “BAM” a flash bang and seconds later the first wave of tear gas hits you as the wind carries it through the crowd.

You have walked legally from the rally point to stand here and voice your protest but you are now subject to tear gas. You have to make a choice: abandon your right to peacefully protest and begin retreating or stay and continue exercising your right to peacefully protest risking you will get into, as John Lewis said “Good Trouble”.

Questions:

If you abandon your right to protest and retreat to the safety of your home and the injustice stands how do you feel about your decision?

Retreating you are not fast enough to stay clear of the police as they advance. Are you a protester or a rioter?

How would the police label you?

Standing your ground to continue your protest are you a protester or rioter?

How would the police label you?

If force is used against you because the pepper spray, flash bang, tear gas and rubber bullets you have come in contact with have made it impossible to comply with orders because you can’t, hear, see or breath. Are you a protester or rioter?

How would the police label you?

If one person out of a hundred is violent during the protest and you are present when it happens. Are you a protester or rioter?

How would the police label you?

The following night, if you return and still are peaceful but again someone in the protest is aggressive toward the authorities they are not addressing the grievances. Are you a protester or rioter?

How would the police label you?

Is it better not to protest something you believe in, out of fear and simply hope that the government recognizes its failure and corrects the injustice or is it better to risk being labeled a rioter to show the government that people are willing to stand up and endure the abuse until they right the wrong?

If you are labeled as a “rioter” after peacefully protesting, what are the repercussions of the government adding domestic terrorist to your new label? Does it fit your actions?

Thank you for sticking with me. We are almost done. There are other forms of protest that do not require your presence. For our discussion, I have chosen to focus on active physical protest. Please, understand there is no right or wrong in these answers, as they are extremely personal. There is only your perspective on your role in society and how you view others as they act in accordance with their views. Share your answers if you like or keep them to yourself but either way know, I love each and every one of you and appreciate your participation.

Now, that you have answered the questions based on whatever injustice you inserted, here is the final part of the scenario with which to evaluate your answers.

***Breaking News***

2020 Presidential Election has been postponed indefinitely.

The President has tweeted, “Due to the China Virus keeping people from voting in person and the use of Universal Mail-In Voting, 2020 will be the most FRAUDULENT and RIGGED Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. I am Delaying the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote.”

Does that change any of your answers? Should it?

We don’t have to agree. We don’t have to like each other’s opinions or choices. We do however, have to live, and die in the same world and if we can’t recognize that tyranny rises in the midst of a silent majorities inaction and belief that, “It can’t happen here!” We will finally be in a big boat together, and that tide which rises all boats will come in fast.

Final Question:

If those willing to fight and raise there voices despite the consequences have been silenced, while the country argues over the definition of protester and rioter in this new social media era. Will they be able to help bail the water out of our boat, as the ocean rushes in to fill the void left by our missing democracy?

Blessings and Love to All.

May Truth, Light & Love Guide Our Path, Always

~ Chris Wood

Photo by Zukiman Mohamad on Pexels.com

The miracle of hearing…

I have experienced a lifetime of hearing related issues and for most of that time I suffered in silence. It’s only been over the last ten years that I have found doctors that have been able to identify and albeit temporarily at times resolved my hearing loss. The fall of 2015 after a long battle with ear infections and a cholesteotoma in my left ear I had surgery for the first time and my brilliant doctor replaced the bones of my inner ear with a prosthesis which allowed be the best hearing in my left ear of my memorable life. For the following year plus, I listened with pleasure as I heard the laghter and crying of my beautiful granddaughters, enjoyed the amazing tunes of gong bathes both as a participant and player and have come to marvel in the healing properties of the Tibetan singing bowls that I play during the deep relaxation at the end of each Kundalini Yoga class I teach on Monday evenings. In December of 2016 I got a severe cold that resulted in a fifty percent loss of hearing in both ears, negative pressure in my left ear endangering the prosthetic and a blow out of my right ear that requires reconstructive surgery to repair it.
Today, I anticipate awaking in the late morning to the wonderful face of my wife after a fully successful surgery. I can’t wait to have to opportunity to think, my grandchildren should keep down the noise for the neighbors but not really care and again hear the sounds of the ocean…


Love and Blessings to all!
May Truth, Light and Love

Guide Our Path

Question of the day:

When the Trump Administration officially identifies the Native American People and those Protestors who “Stand” with them, as Terrorists for their interference with pipeline construction, which side will you stand on? “We The People” or “The Corporation”?

~Chris Wood

Sunsets are back…in my life!

When we first moved to SoCal, I was at the beach for sunset atleast five days a week; that’s when we lived a mile away. A year later we were living four miles away and I made it at least three days a week if not for sunset for a walk on the beach. By year three we were seven miles from the beach and sunsets had become a monthly thing. I didn’t notice at first that sunsets had slowly slipped away and to be honest it wasn’t until last night that it truly hit me. See sunsets had become a big part of my photography and although I have been shooting quite a bit the beach and sunsets had had become a rarity.

Earlier this winter we moved yet again and specifically sought out a place closer to the beach. We found a place that although like many rentals was not exactly perfect, it put us in a position that meant the beach was back within walking and biking distance. Last night was the first time since we moved, a little over two months ago, we took the short jaunt to the beach. Our mission was to clear our gems and jewelry in the ocean with little thought about sunset. So, there I was standing at the waters edge, freezing “SoCal acclimated” since it was only 55 degrees, watching my wife wade into the ocean talking about life cleansing water, when I suddenly noticed a change in the color of everything.  We had accidentally ended up at the beach during the golden hour and forgetting the cold and the wet, along with my extreme displeasure of sand, I soon found myself shoes off, toes sinking into the cold wet sand while laying on the dune, immersed in the color of sunset, taking beach photos for the first time in over a year. What a rush. There is nothing like capturing those last few minutes of the world in the glow of a setting sun on the pacific ocean.

I’ve set a new goal to help rejuvenate my soul and keep me grounded. I will go to the beach for sunset at least twice a week, force myself onto the wet sand to capture as many moments radiant beauty as possible. while there I will use that time in nature to also meditate and allow Gaia and Merlin to talk to me and keep me on my path. I know it’s my duty to shine light into the darkness as the moon reflects the sun into the night sky but if I never take the time to bask in her energy I will not be a brilliant as I need to be in these dark times. Sunsets are back…in my life…let them into yours! Take a few moments out of your week to just take in a setting sun and bask in her glow. I promise, even on your darkest days, she will warm your heart, and lighten your soul.

Below are a few Sunset photos I have taken over the years. I hope you like them.