Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats on Healthcare

Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats on Healthcare

Congratulations!  The GOP imploded and didn’t even vote on a crappy healthcare bill!  You should be so proud.  You stood your ground against something that never had a chance of passing.  I’m not sure what version of a slow clap is appropriate…. I think I’ll go with the Joker.

After you take your lap this weekend and claim a victory.  What are you going to do now?  Are you just going to line up an await the crappy tax reform bill that’s coming and watch that implode too?  Why not take this opportunity to do the unthinkable, propose legislation?

We have a president who is, yes, mad at you.  But I think he is also mad at the Republicans for failing him.  You know he wanted Paul Ryan to hold a vote so he could call out the spineless GOP members who voted against it.  He is ripe to at least listen to a healthcare alternative.  He has said that he wants affordable healthcare for every American, give him what he wants.

TrumpCare 2.0

We all know that the Democrats had a healthcare plan that you were working on for when Hillary took office. (Too soon?) I’m sure you can scrounge up a proposal and then a bill that fixes some things in Obamacare. The most important part would be the public option.  Call it a Medicare buy-in.  Everyone loves Medicare.  Heck, most of the leadership qualifies for it.

So you have a not so crazy healthcare plan with a Medicare buy-in that would be an option for rural areas with no competition.  Get the whole Democratic caucus to sponsor it.  And present it to President Trump.  If he says no the Dems have something on paper to fight the GOP with for the next 4 years.  A much better scenario than the Republicans, “Oh crap! We won and now we have to actually do the thing we said we would!”  You would have a proposal/Bill that you can run on and not just a vague thing to run against.

But then there is the possibility that Trump will support it.  Think of the overturn in power. A united Democratic front with the president to pass something good and the President’s party is the opposition to it.  Who’s the party against the American people then? You want to win back rural and blue collar voters?  Who must argue against Medicare?  What party is the party of obstruction?

There is little downside.  Worst case scenario you win a couple of news cycles before we get bogged down it tax reform.  Best case we get the public option that should have been in Obama care from the start.

I wish I had faith in the Democratic party to be bold and fight for something instead of just against the other side.  If you truly believe that everyone should have healthcare, then take actions toward it.  Please restore my faith in the Democratic party.

Thank you,

Toby Sterling

How I handle Trump’s Election

Donald Trump

Trump in Iowa on Dec. 5, 2015 (Source: Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

All right here it goes.  I have been waiting until now to really get into the election here.  I do have a lot to say but I am going to start here.

I was wrong

I thought Trump had no chance. I had calmed friends and even wrote a lighthearted piece after Trump won the Republican Nomination on why we should embrace him as a candidate.  I concluded with he can’t win.  Many people were wrong on this but we should all take a moment and admit it.  That brings me to my next point.

Trump will be our next President

There are those who say he didn’t win because electoral college.  It’s the system we got and it was put there for very good reasons.  Also if you are one of the people saying “He’s not MY President.”  He is.  If you live in the USA he is the President of it.  I remember people saying that after Obama won (Some are still saying it.) and when Bush won.

It does nobody any good to delegitimize the person in a position you want someone with your beliefs to hold.  Unless you want there to be no President don’t taint the position.

No voter supports or even knows every position of a candidate they voted for

Did you know that Hillary wanted animal breeders and zoos to be required to have disaster plans for the protection of animals in their care?  I didn’t until a minute ago and look for an obscure position to write here.  If you know me you know I am not a fan of Hillary or Trump.  I was hoping Hillary one between the two.

Labeling all supports of X as Y is wrong, bigoted, hateful, and dangerous.  Let me just list a few and I’m sure one of them will be hurtful to you while another will be something that you had thought.  I am doing this as an example because it is so important to understand this.

All supporters of Gay marriage are gay
All supporters of creationism are idiots
All supporters of Black Lives Matter are criminals
All supporters of legalizing weed are drug addicts
All supporters of abortion rights are going to hell
All followers of Christianity are hypocrites
All followers of Judaism  are rich
All followers of Mohamed are terrorists
All followers of Atheism have no morals
All supporters of Trump are Racists
All supporters of Hillary hate America
All supporters of Nickelback are tone-def

You do not fit into those boxes and they do not define who you are.  You are complex and have tremendous life experiences that make you who you are…  and so does everyone else.  Please do not box others.  It just allows others to put you in a box.  We must accept that there are those out there who are not tone-def and still like Nickelback.

We must still call out stupid, hateful, untrue, bigoted, and hurtful statements and actions.  I still will. But one thing I have learned over the years is this.

Calling someone a racists does nothing to change the fact that they are racists

Calling someone tone-def because they like Nickelback will not stop them from liking it.  This is true for anything.  Calling someone an idiot has made no one smarter.  In fact it can make people dumber or to play more Nickelback.  Telling a girl that girls are bad at math may influence them not to study or like math because they were told they would be bad at it.

So what do we do?  For me the answer is simple one but very hard to do.

Do not call them a racists, tell them that action is racists.

A couple of male friends I was with were a bit inebriated.  One called to order food and after handing the phone off to the other said louder than he new “Hey, she sounds hot.” and the repeated “Ask her if she’s on Tinder!” over and over again.

After the phone call I confronted my friend telling him that was harassment.  He argued that it wasn’t and I tried to explain that she was just doing her job and doesn’t deserve to have to fend off unwanted advances to earn a living.  We didn’t convince each other and eventually moved on.

You may not agree with me that it was harassment and that a bit of the point.  How does a harasser know that they are harassing unless you attempt to explain what action that they themselves took was harassment.  I’m saddened to say that racism will not just die out.  at some point, if the goal is to end racism we will have to convince some racist that racism is wrong.

I am afraid that this may get the biggest reaction in this whole article but to cure a Nickelbacker you are going to have to make them listen to Metallica.

My Election Prediction(s)

I was one state off in my last two election predictions.  This time I’m going to give you three maps to ponder. First is my prediction of what will happen  This is my what I feel will happen but it is not what my gut says.


The one state that is the hardest for me to predict is Ohio.  It is the state that will be the last to be called.  But the race will be over much before then.  Early voting and the way the electoral map works is just to much to overcome.

I am not as firm in my convictions as I was last time so here is my Clinton landslide map.


This I call the conscious/young vote.  It is hard to poll young people and they just won’t break for Trump.  Then you have the people in the voting booth thinking the just can’t vote for the Donald.  Texas I think is closer to turning blue sooner than people think.

Now for the Trump best case scenario.


This is the best I think Trump can do. All I really need to say is that Trump still loses in this scenario.  Trump does 68 electoral votes better that the modest prediction and still loses.  there is no way for Trump to win at this point.

The state to watch for me is Georgia.  The sooner it is called the better for Trump.  If it called when the polls close we are in for a long night.


Thoughts on Donald and Hillary

Hillary Clinton will do anything to get elected. She all but stole the nomination from Bernie. She is out of touch and bought by the big banks .

That being said, she is still the better candidate by a mile than Donald. He has no morality, no intelligent positions, and no conviction other than blaming others for his own faults. He has no policies other than “having the best policies.” The plans he actually released will increase the deficit. He profited off his own campaign’s donations. He treats foreign policy like a hand of poker with no long term consequences.

Donald reminds me of all the worst aspects of a salesmen.  I’ve been in sales for a long time and there is a certain amount of bluster that goes into a pitch.  But Donald thinks that is intelligence.  I can train any schmuck to deliver a pitch but Trump is the guy who you send in to close a deal and when he gets out and you ask him what he had to give the buyer to close the deal and you realize that we are going to loose our shirt on this deal if not the company.

He has no idea of what it takes to run a country.  If he wins the best we can hope for is that they wheel him out on special occasions to say how great America is now then wheel him back into the closet and let *Shudder* Pence run things.

And, if that wasn’t enough, he is a racist, sexist, adultering, pervert who gropes women and brags about it. I would not leave him unattended with anyone I know or any female ever. If he wasn’t rich and able to settle the many cases that have been brought against him he would be on a sex offender registry. Donald cannot and will not be President.

This concludes my commentary on this election (hopefully) until election day.

Media Is Not Ignoring Media Coverage! 3 Simple Reasons You Are Wrong

MediaWe see it all the time. Some article about a story and how it is not getting coverage.  The media always ignores the stories that really matter.  How can we live in a world where this happens!

Not only are these posts wrong, they cause the story to be ignored.

You heard me right. When someone writes one of these articles they are actually reducing the attention to the thing they are pushing. There are three straight forward and simple reasons for this.

1. It is a false narrative.

Most of these type of articles saying this thing is happening and media isn’t covering it and then refer to a news article.  My recent “favorite” of these lately was referring to the Louisiana floods and it not being covered… While linking a USA Today article!  I had just seen that story lead the national TV news an hour earlier.

While that is an extreme example it holds true for nearly all of these articles. They will link to a story produced by someone working in media.  It is also the fact that the very thing you create to complain about media coverage is itself… wait for it… media coverage! Which leads into the second reason.

2. The article is now about the media, not the story.

Whatever the story that is not being covered by the media is now second fiddle to the media not covering of the story.

Have you ever started a conversation complaining about the media coverage that you didn’t end up talking about the media?  You waste valuable eyes and brain time on something that has nothing to with what you want people to actually know.

Media, especially now, needs to be on point all the time.  Unless your greater point is about media coverage, don’t open with it.

3. People see the hypocrisy and don’t click.

Perhaps early on when this idea started it helped clicks.  But the media has been blamed for not covering a certain story since the 80’s. (the 1680’s) Most of the  people I talk to avoid clicking on these stories.

As the Gawker headline tropes become recognized, their effectiveness declines. We are over saturated with media people saying media coverage of the thing I am in the process of covering is horrible. It is hypocrisy and I won’t participate.

The thing is we now have greater influence over the media than ever before. Every time we click and share a story, that story moves up on the recommendation algorithms that rule content from that media source. We literally have the power to control what gets big media coverage.

Yes we should keep pointing out big media’s shortcomings, but doing it while promoting a story that you want to be big undermines its influence. Let’s not waste good efforts on blaming media that undermines good stories that need to be told.

Open letter to MPLS Police Union: Replace Bob Kroll

Who can criticize Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, for doing and saying anything to defend his police officers.  He has done it passionately and enthusiastically.  That is his job as a union representative.

Lt. Bob Kroll Union President

Lt. Bob Kroll Union President

He has not always been tactful doing it but he has done it well.

Where the problem lies is that he is the chosen representative of you, the actual officers in Minneapolis. This is the person who people perceive as the best of you.  Bob Kroll is your man.  The problem is he is perceived as racist and a bad cop.

I’m not calling him a racist or a bad cop.  I do not know what is in his heart.  But many people think he is that’s a problem.  He was suspended in 2004 and cost the city money in a settlement for, allegedly, beating people up while off duty at an Art-A-Whirl in Northeast.  He cost the city $60,000 in 2002 for another settlement after he, allegedly, and a dozen other officers beat up and humiliated Native Americans in their home.

The most outrageous thing in his record was his involvement when five of your fellow officers sued the city over hostile work environment in 2007.  Kroll was accused of calling Keith Ellison a terrorist and having a white power patch on his motorcycle jacket.  Again the case was settled out of court.  There are more accusations but these I mention because the actually cost the city, and the people of Minneapolis, money.

Maybe that would be fine if he was just another officer on the force.  But you the police officers chose Bob Kroll to represent you.  A man who fellow officers accused of racism!  He is the person YOU put forward to represent what is great and honorable about Minneapolis police officers.

It doesn’t matter if any of it is true.  People’s perception of him is that he is racist and a bad cop.  You who have chosen him to represent your Union values.  That perpetuates the perception that the Minneapolis police department is filled with racists and bad cops.  If you want that perception to change, change the person who represents you.

Toby Sterling @TobySterl

Controversy follows Minneapolis police union president
Activists claim police union chief Bob Kroll is racist

Orlando Shooting: Say His Name

As I tried to avoid the gory details of the hateful slaughter of 49 people I keep hearing the names of the victims. Somehow putting names and faces to these victims will make us whole.  We should learn about how human they are, how much like us they are.

At the same time I hear people including Donald Trump say they will not say his name.  We shouldn’t dignify this insane, murderous, asshole with even a thought that lingers.

Is this the right response?  We grieve the killing of people without acknowledging the perpetrator.  But if we do this how are we as a society supposed to change to prevent these things from happening?  We teach World War 2 history using Hitler’s name and say “Never Again.” Yet I know very few of the names of the victims of the Holocaust.

It feels like we are at Hogwarts avoiding saying the name Voldemort.  If we ignore him he will go away.  That didn’t work so well.  When you name it you have power over it.

Without a name it is easier just to dismiss him as some group, some “Other.”  Blame it on Islamist extremists, Homophobia, mental illness, a gun and not on some human being with hopes and fears,  loves and hates, parents and friends.  You have all seen the blame and finger pointing at people who were no more involved with this slaughter than you or I.

We should acknowledge that he is not a monster or a bogie man but a  complicated human that did good things in his life too.  Yes he will be judge for this massacre over everything else.  But he was still someones neighbor, schoolmate, son, relative, friend.  He was loved. If we treat him as a human maybe we can do something to prevent this from happening again.

Omar Mir Seddique Mateen

Born in Queens, New York.
Moved to Port St. Lucie Florida in 1991
Graduated from Indian River Community College in 2006
He visited Sudia Arabia twice between 2011 and 2012 to perform an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca
Between 2001 and 2006, he worked at eight jobs, including at a Publix grocery store, Circuit City, Chick-Fil-A, Walgreens, Nutrition World, Gold’s Gym and GNC
He legally change his name from Omar Mir Seddique to Omar Mir Seddique Mateen. There was no reason provided for the name change.
Sitora Yusufiy who was married to Mateen for four months in 2009, called her ex-husband “bi-polar… deeply disturbed” and claims her family rescued her from the abusive relationship.
She also alleged her ex-husband abused steroids, which exacerbated his “emotional instability” during their marriage.
Mateen was remarried with one child at the time of the shooting
Mateen aspired to be a police officer
He had no criminal record

There are reports that he was on gay dating sights and attended the Pulse nightclub more than once but also have heard otherwise.

Omar Mateen killed 49 and injured 53 at The Pulse Nightclub