In a piece I wrote for the Dallas Voice, I explain briefly how insurance works and why private healthcare is simply "Survival of the Richest".
Trump’s budget is now out as well as the CBO score of TrumpCare 2.0, and it doesn’t look good for most Americans who actually work for a living.
Twenty-Three Million will lose health coverage. That’s the population of Texas back in 2007.
Gutting Medicaid and anti-poverty programs barely scratches the surface of what this budget does. (Which he promised he wouldn't do.) Currently, twenty-three thousand service members are on food stamps to feed their children. Forty-five percent of military children qualify for free or reduced price lunches at school. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney doesn’t seem to care, as the Trump budget is going to gut these programs for hard-working Americans, claiming that "If you are on food stamps, and you are able-bodied, we need you to go to work.”
Putting your life on the line to defend our Freedom is a full time job; but the millionaires in Congress are so detached from the lives of ordinary citizens that they can’t understand the damage they would be doing to hand the Koch Brothers yet another tax cut.
I’m an ex-conservative because the GOP sold their souls a long time ago and forgot Matthew 25:40 - “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” We need to preserve and strengthen the safety net, and raise minimum wage to get people off of food stamps, which has been proven to actually help the economy.
We need people who aren’t millionaires and understand everyday problems rather than just do partisan bickering.
I’m running in 2018 as someone who actually works for a living, and wants to represent fellow laborers who simply want their fair share of the pie. Let's change the direction of the country. Midterms are Coming.
I've noticed a change since November, both in the quantity of and overall turnout at rallies. I see the signs, the hats, the new political groups, and more people are getting involved with their government and their communities than ever before in my lifetime. I'm proud to say as a Democrat, that Midterms are Coming, and it's only a matter of time before we sweep out Trump's enablers in Congress and in state governments nationwide.
But will it be a permanent shift, or just a slight bounce for team blue over team red?
Hard work has always been a Texas value, and our parents worked and struggled to provide us with a better life. But look where we are now; some of us are working two or three jobs just to make ends meet.
We're sending our children to underfunded schools. We're drowning in various types of debt and are forced to settle for unpaid internships or underemployment that doesn't meet our educational level or pay our bills. Some of this debt is high-interest student loans, while others are medical bills. We're no forgoing expensive coffee and the latest cell phone, as the right wing likes to say, but basic necessities like nutritious food and medical care. Some of us even live in places just like Flint, Michigan, where our water is unsafe to drink.
Is this really the life our parents fought to provide for us? And is this the legacy we want to give to our very own children?
My friends, if we want to win Congress back in 2018, it's not going to be with platitudes and political promises. It won't be enough to just stick a D after your name and say, "I'm better than Trump."
If we want to really win, we will need to mobilize the voting public with permanent progress and policies that meet the needs of all Texans.
We must fight for single payer health care. Because while Obama's Affordable Care Act was a step in the right direction by eliminating pre-existing conditions, enhancing protections for women's and children's health, and imposing the 80/20 rule, in the end it was still the brain-child of the right-wing Heritage Foundation which leaves millions uncovered, and millions more with sub-par care or deductibles and copays they still can't afford. As long as for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical companies aren't competing with a Medicare-For-All alternative, we will continue to pay more for health care than any other industrialized nation on the planet.
We must expand DACA to cover all undocumented immigrants and simplify the path to citizenship for those who want to work in America, become Americans, and most importantly, pay taxes which will strengthen Social Security and benefit all of us, instead of wasting our tax dollars tearing children away from their families and the only life that they have ever known.
We must invest in clean energy; in solar, wind, geothermal, and safer next-gen Thorium nuclear power. We need to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels not just for the environment, but to de-fund countries with ties to terror groups. We must uphold strong environmental rules to keep toxins out of our air and lead out of our drinking water.
We must fight to get to a $15 minimum wage gradually by 2024, because nobody working forty hours a week should be living in poverty.
We must fight for pay equity for women, and particularly women of color, by finally passing the Equal Rights Amendment.
We must fight for paid family and medical leave, because those first few years of a child's life are so crucial to their development, and it is a moral imperative to allow parents the chance to have that quality bonding time.
We must frame this fight not as one to win over the left, but to shatter the right. Because we are not going to leave it to our children to have to march for the preservation of science while facts get purged by order of the government. We will not see our children laboring below a living wage, suffering from a polluted environment, and being drafted to fight unnecessary wars.
We are at a watershed moment here, so are we going to continue to rehash these arguments every four or six or eight years? Or will we take the fight to their side, and destroy the right-wing's talking points? As an ex-conservative who understands how they think and what they believe, I know it is imperative to put forward progressive policies that will not only win back Congress in 2018, but keep the government in the hands of We the People for a better future.
As a half-Hispanic Texan, and as the first transgender woman in Congress, I'll be the one fighting for all of this. So our children won't have to. I'm Danielle Pellett, and I look forward to serving the 32nd District.
For the past week, I've been trying to formulate a response to the town halls that have been happening across the country. People are angry and want to be heard; many didn't like ObamaCare but don't want the ACA repealed. People liked most of ObamaCare’s provisions, while a vocal minority wanted it completely torn down before a replacement was even properly scored.
And while TrumpCare was exposed as gutting coverage for individuals, implementing an effective age tax, handing massive tax cuts to the 1%, and not heartless enough for the Freedom Caucus, this isn't the time for Progressives to simply sit back and laugh. Paul Ryan and the GOP promised a repeal and replacement for the ACA/ObamaCare for 7 years and over 62 repeal votes, so don’t think that they are done just because the dog finally caught the car.
Even now with the ACA, 27 million Americans aren't covered. Hospitals keep raising their rates to cover their losses due to the uninsured. Bankruptcy due to medical costs surpasses all other debt. The ACA imposed an 80/20 rule to require at least 80% of the money they spend goes directly to healthcare and not business overhead. Medicare does this at a much better rate.
It’s time we admit that some things shouldn't be done for a profit. Before Obama left office, the justice department released a report that private prisons weren't cost effective and were in the process of shutting them down.
Likewise, having an unnecessary middleman stand between a patient and their doctor to ration care has given us horrific situations where a newborn baby was already denied health coverage due to a pre existing condition. A woman diagnosed with skin cancer was declined coverage due to having acne while growing up.
It's time that we move onto a single payer, Medicare for all system. Profiting off of human suffering in this way is immoral and we can do better. Freeing Americans from the shackles of medical debt would help reverse the slowing trend of our economy.
Meanwhile, in town halls across the country, Republicans claim that the anger they face is a spectacle paid for by George Soros. Medical debt is real, American fear of Hospitals due to the bill is real, so why would the anger be manufactured?
As reported by multiple sources, Pete Sessions’ town hall was an unmitigated disaster. Rather than listen to his constituents, he talked down to the crowd and insinuated that they were unwilling to listen to him.
It wasn't just rude, but inexcusable for a sitting congressman. Next week, I'll be holding an informal listening event in Garland from 2-4 pm. I look forward to hearing from you as we look forward to 2018 and getting a congress that is more responsive to everyday Americans and not just powerful lobbyists who have been profiting by exploiting loopholes written by the congressmen they bought.
As I've mentioned before, I'm more than just a transgender woman fighting for equality. I'm a chemist looking for new and innovative ways to improve the environment as well as the world.
Tomorrow is 3/14, also known as Pi Day, in honor of the irrational number that mathematically correlates the diameter to the circumference of a circle. This is essentially a made-up holiday for geeks and nerds alike, which has been used to promote education in STEM fields.
I'm a lifetime member of Alpha Chi Sigma, a chemistry co-ed fraternity founded in 1902 and boasts 21 Nobel Prizes among its ranks. Part of the mission of AXƩ is to strive for the advancement of chemistry both as a science and as profession.
To that end, I've been researching LFTR (Liquid Fluorine Thorium Reactors) as a way to not only get us off of foreign oil, but to combat global warming as well as deal with the nuclear waste of yesteryear's plutonium reactors. (Something that AXƩ and Two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling warned us about.)
Put simply, the waste of yesteryear's nuclear reactors have to be buried for thousands of years because we enriched Uranium to the point of it being used as a nuclear weapon and created energy by putting it into pressurized water tank at 160 times our atmospheric pressure and at a temperature of 330°C.
The meltdown at Fukushima highlights the issues that, even with multiple safety systems working simultaneously, the basic premise of how we harvest nuclear energy from the Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) invented back in 1946 is problematic.
So I'm putting together a plan and reaching out to other congressional incumbents as well as 2018 candidates to begin the process to retire the nuclear energy of yesteryear and to move forward to the next-gen, safer, thorium-based nuclear energy. This 'New Deal' would provide research money to universities as well as include an investment in solar, wind, and geothermal energy in order to end the destructive, poisonous energy-collecting process known as fracking once and for all. We'll fight unemployment by investing into renewable energy independence.
Liquid Fluorine Thorium Reactors (LFTR's) would use pressurized, liquefied salt... something that has ionic instead of covalent bonds. Simply put, it's less reactive and the massive amounts of heat that is generated could be used to desalinate our rising oceans and we could collect the salt safely while making pipelines for the water to go to our drought-stricken areas in the USA.
Imagine, if you will, a future where we no longer have weekly oil spills from derailing oil cars on trains that haven't had safety overhauls since the 70's and no more oil pipelines bursting, ruining our lakes and aquifers. Our pipes would carry desalinated water across the nation to combat droughts that are only going to get worse with climate change.
Rather than bury nuclear waste for thousands of years, the spent fuel from LFTR would only have to be buried for two hundred years due to the lower levels of radioactivity.
Reducing the amount of nuclear waste we have to bury will be a deterrent to domestic terrorism, while kicking the addiction to foreign oil will weaken terrorists abroad who are funded by the sale of oil.
If there's anything I'm good at, it's finding unique 'outside the box' solutions to problems that are interwoven into all aspects of our lives. I look forward to proving that in the coming months as the primary day approaches.
Many people hear the word 'socialism' there and they confuse it with communism or dictatorships. Or they believe socialism is the exact opposite of capitalism. The best way that I think I can convey the idea of what Democratic Socialism is in regard to the Free Market, is with a story.
Two children went trick-or-treating with a large group. The caretaker followed a specific path in a rather opulent neighborhood, and as both children had amazing costumes, their bags were really heavy with their loot.
The first child gets home and their parent, a purveyor of Fox News, decides to examine the candy and test them with a magnet just in case there were razor blades or needles put in them.
Once they are certain that the candy is fine, they let their child eat it all. If the kid gets too sick from eating it all, well, that's a learning experience and they have their baby teeth still.
The second child gets home and their parent, having planned out the route on NextDoor and personally knew the people who were handing out candy, knew that the candy was fine. Instead of inspecting the candy, this parent asks the child to relinquish 80% of their candy.
"If you let me hold onto this for you, I'll make certain you get a piece of candy in your lunch everyday until it runs out." They offer.
The child, while not liking this idea at first, agrees when they count out the candy and realizes there's enough to last until winter break. (Like I said, a LOT of candy)
The next day in school, the two children are at a lunch table together. The second child smiled as they actually had two pieces of candy in their lunch, and a note from their parent saying that the second piece was for their friend.
The first child doesn't even want to look at candy as they got sick last night and threw up from eating too much candy.
The moral of this story is this: unchecked capitalism will seek to maximize profit to a degree that is unsustainable and self-destroying. Democratic socialism seeks to have the people decide how to use a balance of capitalism and socialism for the greater good.
Business interests cannot be left to completely self-regulate, else we'll have the same problem we had in 1929 and 2008 when the market crashed. There is a compelling interest for the government to keep businesses in check when it comes to profit margins; profit is not more sacred than having clean air and water for our children. If you haven't already seen it, I highly recommend the movie "The Big Short". It's a witty and fast-paced film about the housing crisis and uses well-placed humor to point out the failings of our economic system today.
Today is the third anniversary of my marriage to my wife, and thought that I'd share the story of how we met and the obstacles we had to overcome to exploit a (admittedly transphobic) legal loophole that was in my favor to get where we are today.
In 2005, I met a girl, and it was pretty much love at first sight. It was awkward at first because she thought I was a cute gay boy and I thought she was a straight girl. (I was starting my transition but still living as male due to being in the middle of a school term.) We had a non-legally-binding commitment ceremony in 2012 because we knew the law and that judges would try to argue that trans women like myself can’t marry anyone because either it is a same-sex pairing with a man (as Texas law will only ever consider me male with regard to getting married, gender marker change or not) or that it would seem to be a lesbian couple if I were to marry a woman (which is completely legal within the confines of how the law was written back then.)
That year, another couple we knew (one assigned male at birth like myself, the other assigned female at birth) decided to get married. The law is, technically, on our side. But they were turned down by 17 judges and two Justice of the Peace offices. They were told that the District Attorney is ‘looking into it’ as a way to intimidate them to go away and not cause a fuss. Naturally, that pissed me off enough to flippantly say to JJ, 'I ought to call up that DA and threaten to marry you!' She heard me and, agreeing with my sentiment, made me put my money where my mouth is.
So we went to a JP court where we were told a judge would be willing to marry us, thinking that his clerks understood that the 'M' [for male] on my birth certificate meant I could marry someone with an 'F' on theirs. Apparently, they didn’t get the memo. Within minutes of us being there, all the window blinds were drawn shut, save for the occasional peek and gawking. Then a clerk swore up and down that JJ had been here before and been turned down, only to come back with a different hair color and a different partner just to ‘get one over’ on her. (One thing you should never do is call my wife 'a liar' and go so far as to suggest she just dyed her hair to commit some sort of fraud. Heck, her roots were slightly showing.) Further, we were informed that the DA ‘was onto us’ in hopes that we would simply go away and not be her problem.
That’s when my wife pointed out that we were, in the eyes of the law, an opposite sex couple because the law only cared about how I was born. Apparently, talking slow and pointing out the letter of the law confuses them, as the clerks then said that they would only let me marry a man. I really wanted to point out that she would be violating the constitutional ‘definition’ of marriage, but instead we were told by the other couple that we’d have to go to the JP office in downtown Dallas while the nice lady at the Justice of the Peace office hinted that she’d happily call the police to help us leave in matching handcuffs.
Once downtown, it was much easier. We got our license, and called the clerks in order to schedule our time with their judge to be married on Valentine’s Day. They tried ignoring our calls and emails, then said they penciled us in, but they were very wary about the legality of it all and wanted to know who issued it because ‘they could get in trouble as well’. After our first encounter, the judge apparently ‘politely declined’ to be ‘associated in any way with this’ and swore he sent us an email.
A marriage license can expire if it’s not signed in time, and we started to realize that this may have been their plan if ‘make the lesbians go away’ didn’t work. We had about two weeks to get this done, and we knew we wanted it done by a judge for that extra bit of legitimacy so it couldn’t be nullified by challenging the officiant we may have had to use.
So we had to find a new judge to marry us, and we were on a ticking clock. Nineteenth judge is the charm, right? We were finally informed there was a judge willing to do this for us, and got married the morning of Valentine’s Day. A week before, however, a local news channel reported that it would be ‘up to the judge’ to allow the marriages ‘to be sanctioned.' (Again, the law is on our side and this was merely more conservative, passive-aggressive, tantrum-throwing in an attempt to seem ‘fair and balanced’.)
In the end, despite the invasive and big-government meddling of Constitutional ‘definitions’ to ban LGBTQ persons from getting married, that futile last stand the GOP took to enshrine discrimination, I got to use legalized transphobia as my loophole to marry the woman of my dreams. In fact, the license was accepted without any problems in downtown Dallas. The actual clerk we got it issued by was being very supportive and professional about it all.
And, about a year later, the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land. Even so, some Republicans seem dead-set to overturn that as they cannot allow other couples access to the same legal, secular benefits afforded by marriage equality.
This was never an issue of forcing others to agree with us, or forcing their own religions to be compassionate to their fellow humans. This was simply a matter of equality in the eyes of the law, and of allowing loving couples the legal benefits to assist them in creating healthy and strong families.
“None of [the candidates] are serious unless they can raise $100k by June.”
I recently saw this on an online discussion about the challenges to run a campaign for the US House in 2018. Not only do I disagree with this sentiment, but I believe it underscores one of the biggest problems in politics today: you must be able to sway big dollar donors to support you in a time when there’s extreme economic inequality.
After Citizens United declared money as ‘free speech’, SuperPACs have more sway in politics than the candidates themselves. Even the news reporting on campaigns follow the money more than they do the platforms and proposals of the candidates.
In fact, we’ve seen non-serious candidates hit the news before; one wore a boot on his head, another said the rent was too damn high, and Stephen Colbert only ran for President in one state. We’ve even had non-serious fundraisers like Zack Brown’s Potato Salad Kickstarter, which raised over $55,000 and had almost five thousand backers.
Should I put on a spoof fundraiser, or sell out my integrity to the highest bidder in order to prove I’m ‘serious’ in my campaign? If 2016 taught us anything, it’s that money doesn’t buy elections. Jeb Bush should have won the GOP primary if it were simply a matter of money.
According to Scientific American, The Week, Praxis, and Freakanomics!, more money raised (and spent on advertising) does not guarantee an electoral victory. What matters is a resounding message, and a ground game to get voters energized and to not only vote, but to spread the message.
I’ve faced ‘the impossible’ before, and succeeded. Not only am I looking to be funded by small donor donations, I pledge to get SuperPACs out of politics entirely. As an ex-conservative who still believes in fiscal responsibility, I like the idea of making politicians stick to a budget, to prove that they have what it takes to run our government.
No getting massive sweetheart loans from Goldman Sachs. No massive out of state millionaire backer pulling the strings in exchange for repealing fracking regulations in your backyard.
I’m Danielle Pellett, and I’m Not For Sale. Tell your friends to get ready. Midterms Are Coming.
I'm Danielle Pellett, born and raised right here in Texas; born in Brownsville to David and Maria del Rosario, graduated from UNT with degrees in Sociology and Forensic Chemistry, and like many of you, I once scratched my head and thought long and hard about what it meant to be Republican. That’s right, I was a Libertarian-leaning Republican back in 2000.
That all changed in 2002 when I thought about my values, challenged what I believed in, and had to consider what the future of our country would look like if my party kept going the way it did.
The tragedy of Matthew Shepard made me parrot the live-and-let-live sentiment that many people had in the wake of that horrific murder.
Common Sense fiscal conservatism told me not to spend more than I took in.
My small government beliefs told me that maybe government regulation wasn't always the right answer.
When the tragedy of 9-11 happened, I was swept up in the hyper patriotism of the moment. I had always wanted to serve in the military, and knew that going to war was a tough decision that needed to be fully thought out. Hearing the dispute over the WMD intel, I needed to gather all the facts so as to make an informed decision.
I challenged myself to not stay glued onto the news source that stated that they were the only truth out there and everything else was a ‘massive liberal conspiracy’.
In doing that, I found a voice that wasn’t ‘politically correct’. Who wasn’t a sellout. He sounded a little crazy, but less crazy than what was happening in America.
We were firing Arabic translators as we were invading Afghanistan and Iraq because they were gay.
We passed the Bush Tax Cuts while starting two wars that weren’t on the budget, and just kept asking for ‘emergency war funding’, like we didn’t know it would keep costing us money.
Then the Enron scandal begin to unravel, and I realized that maybe we needed a check and balance system against businesses and banking institutions to protect we the people.
That crazy man I heard was Bernie Sanders on Air America Radio. I studied the history of the Great Depression and understood how Glass-Steagall worked as a firewall between the different types of banking institutions until it was repealed under Bill Clinton.
Even now, we have Sam Brownback attempting similar extreme tax cuts in Kansas and hoping it will fix their economy. But tax cuts don't fill potholes.
We are spending money on drug tests for welfare. The results have shown that poor people can't afford drugs and that drug testing itself is more expensive than the welfare check is. It’s fiscally irresponsible.
So I ask you to please question everything that you have been taught, and to not fall victim to fear-mongering once again. Question if President Obama was a constitution shredding tyrant, or completely lazy and ineffective at grabbing all your guns and putting you in a FEMA camp. (Because, he actually did expand gun rights into National Parks, and Congress failed to remove the loopholes on background checks, something 92% of America supports.)
So maybe we do need to enforce existing regulations so there isn’t another deadly explosion like in West, Texas. And in Texas City. And the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig. Instead, our Governor said you can just drive around and ask companies what chemicals they have there.
Maybe we need to live by the idea of Live and Let Live rather than scapegoating someone who does not look like a stereotypical girl to present her papers to some sort of potty police.
We need to bring Common sense back to government. We need people in Congress who reflect the voters, like teachers and grocery store cashiers. People who actually have to work for a living.
I have massive amounts of student debt because interest rates jumped from 1.9% to 6.8% on me, and I couldn't just work two jobs and get my degree in Forensic Chemistry.
Unlike our members of Congress, I'm not a millionaire; I'm just like you.
I'm also not a quitter.
Donald Trump is now our 45th President, and he promised that he'll bring jobs back to America. The problem is this: he didn’t even make his 'Make America Great Again' hats in the USA. Do you know where he had them made? China.
I won't be a hypocrite like that. I'll give the honest truth, even if you don't like it.
I support raising the minimum wage so that the Middle and Working Class can work hard to make ends meet without a second job or having to depend on food stamps. Pete Sessions, however, doesn't care; he voted against raising the minimum wage, against unions, against getting clean water to Flynt, and willing to shut down the government time and time again.
This isn't how government is supposed to work; this is why I'm running against him in 2018.
I am running to support we the people. I am running as a former libertarian-leaning Republican. I am running as a freedom Democrat.
Midterms are Coming.