Posts Tagged ‘reality’

GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE!

March 24, 2010

It’s Waterloo All Right: Ours From the Right: David Frum March 22, 2010 by FrumForum

Conservatives and Republicans today suffered their most crushing legislative defeat since the 1960s.

It’s hard to exaggerate the magnitude of the disaster. Conservatives may cheer themselves that they’ll compensate for today’s expected vote with a big win in the November 2010 elections. But:

(1) It’s a good bet that conservatives are over-optimistic about November – by then the economy will have improved and the immediate goodies in the healthcare bill will be reaching key voting blocs.

(2) So what? Legislative majorities come and go. This healthcare bill is forever. A win in November is very poor compensation for this debacle now.

So far, I think a lot of conservatives will agree with me. Now comes the hard lesson:

A huge part of the blame for today’s disaster attaches to conservatives and Republicans ourselves.

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.  READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/22-2 

“WISDOM” FROM THE OTHER SIDE

The Health Care Hindenburg Has Landed by Chris Hedges March 22, 2010 by TruthDig.com

The claims made by the proponents of the bill are the usual deceptive corporate advertising. The bill will not expand coverage to 30 million uninsured, especially since government subsidies will not take effect until 2014. Families who cannot pay the high premiums, deductibles and co-payments, estimated to be between 15 and 18 percent of most family incomes, will have to default, increasing the number of uninsured. Insurance companies can unilaterally raise prices without ceilings or caps and monopolize local markets to shut out competitors. The $1.055 trillion spent over the next decade will add new layers of bureaucratic red tape to what is an unmanageable and ultimately unsustainable system.

The mendacity of the Democratic leadership in the face of this reality is staggering. Howard Dean, who is a doctor, said recently: “This is a vote about one thing: Are you for the insurance companies or are you for the American people?” What is the point in supporting Democrats? How much more craven can they get? READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/22-1

NO CHANCE IN HELL

The Great Thing About the Health Care Law That Has Passed? It Will Save Republican Lives, Too An Open Letter to Republicans March 22, 2010 by CommonDreams.org by Michael Moore

To My Fellow Citizens, the Republicans:

Thanks to last night’s vote, that child of yours who has had asthma since birth will now be covered after suffering for her first nine years as an American child with a pre-existing condition.

Thanks to last night’s vote, that 23-year-old of yours who will be hit one day by a drunk driver and spend six months recovering in the hospital will now not go bankrupt because you will be able to keep him on your insurance policy.

Thanks to last night’s vote, after your cancer returns for the third time — racking up another $200,000 in costs to keep you alive — your insurance company will have to commit a criminal act if they even think of dropping you from their rolls.

Yes, my Republican friends, even though you have opposed this health care bill, we’ve made sure it is going to cover you, too, in your time of need.  So, when you find yourself suddenly broadsided by a life-threatening illness someday, perhaps you’ll thank those pinko-socialist, Canadian-loving Democrats and independents for what they did Sunday evening. READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/22-0

CH-CH-CHANGES…

Signed, Sealed, but Not Delivered: Six Big Flaws Need Fixing to Make New Law Meaningful Health Care Reform by Jon Walker Monday, March 22, 2010 by FireDogLake.com

This health care reform bill passed late last night and soon to be signed into law is a seriously flawed piece of legislation, for it fails to achieve the goals of real health care reform. Now that it is essentially the law of the land, the country needs to work diligently at the federal and state levels to correct many of the most egregious problems with the legislation before the reform package fully goes into effect in 2014. The six main areas that need to be fixed are: cost control, enforcement, individual mandate, abortion, competition, and immigration.

1) Lack of Real Cost Control

This bill does not create real cost control and will not bring down premiums for most Americans.

2) Dangerously Weak Enforcement

There are some good new regulations, but regulations are only as good as the strength of the agency tasked to enforce them. This bill is dangerously lacking in this area.

3) Individual Mandate

The individual mandate, which uses the IRS to force people to buy a product from a poorly regulated, private industry, is an affront to the American people. People must be offered the choice of a public alternative, or the individual mandate must be repealed.

4) Abortion

This bill is a massive rollback of a woman’s right to choose. It would take away the abortion coverage of millions of Americans.

5) Lack of Health Insurance Competition

The bill will do almost nothing to address the problem of lack of competition in the health insurance market. Repealing the anti-trust exemption and adding a public option would be two big steps toward solving the problem.

6) Immigration

Under this almost-law, undocumented immigrants would not be allowed to buy insurance on the new exchanges, even if they are willing to pay the full cost of the insurance with their own money.

If the majority party wants to honestly deliver on these promises—not to mention if they want to remain in the majority—then a concerted and immediate effort is required to prove that this week’s legislation is truly the first step toward reform, and not the last.

© 2010 FireDogLake.com

Jon Walker is political writer and blogger for FireDogLake. He is an expert on health care policy and the politics of health care reform.

HEALTHCARE FIXES

“This Is What Change Looks Like”: Congress Passes Health-Care Reform

Once Rep. Bart Stupak announced he would vote for the Senate version of the health-care reform bill that came before the House, Democrats had their votes.

After the Senate version of the health-care reform bill passed, the House voted, 217-209, a package of “fixes” to the Senate bill, which strip out several special deals made with specific senators in order to win their votes — for example, a Medicaid windfall for the state of Nebraska — and add changes to various thresholds for subsidies and taxes. That package will require a vote in the Senate in order to pass into law, but, as a budget reconciliation measure, that vote will require only a simple majority. Still, Republicans are promising mischief in the upper chamber once that body takes up the reconciliation bill, so the fate of those fixes remains a bit dicey.  READ MORE: http://www.alternet.org/news/146117/%22this_is_what_change_looks_like%22%3A_congress_passes_health-care_reform

MY TWO-BITS

Suggestions for Progressives in Congress – both houses:

  • Adopt the Health Care Act fixes promptly.
  • Adopt a new rule that Republicans and other demagogues can use the same argument only three times in debate to limit time-wasting repetition and ideological obstruction.  Repetition is the tool of demagogues.  (Our Latin teacher in high school was a demagogue).  We assume (makes an ass of u and me) that elected representatives are able to remember an argument as part of the record, once given.  Three times is the charm, according to human learning capacity.  Our speech teacher said, “Tell ‘em where you’re going, go there, and then tell ‘em where you’ve been.”  Should be good enough for any argument to be fully expressed understood and assimilated.  Of course, the Republicans et al are stalling and inventing roadblocks, so they love repetition; added to it, their toolbox is very small so they have to say the same thing over and over anyway.  We’ve had enough of that.  Offenders should get a Timeout.
  • Put some hustle in the bustle – too much time is wasted on lies and the fallout from lies. Create a fine system for liars; charge the republicans for each offense – stiff fines, ones that will bring tears to their eyes so they will remember it; Pavlovian behavior modification works; check out the rats that ran to the bell and got some yummy cheese  – all receipts to go to Public Campaign Financing only.
  • Deliver the knockout punch.  The agitated resistance of the Teabag Party and for-hire goons is simple gangster-style intimidation by the hostile rich and their Fox, Republican and other demagogic tools.  The crooks know their selfish cause is on the ropes.  They are willing to fight to the grim death to preserve their ignorance, superstition, greed and terror, but they will be finished if the Progressives hold strong and stay on the offensive.  Old Chinese military proverb: “The time to be on your highest guard is immediately after the battle.”  Brace for counterattack.
  • Support Progressive candidates in every election.  What the People really want – in the significant majority – is to flush the bought-and-paid-for rascals out of our system.  Democracy is not an –ism.  Trying to run the country according to a script won’t work for people who don’t want to be in your lousy little play; people who prefer to deal with reality on a practical common sense basis.
  • Think outside the box.  We cannot long endure as a nation of over-consumers and garbage-makers.  We must find new ways of doing business, which are less invasive and destructive.  Arab philosopher al-Kindi, c.801-66 wrote:  “We should not be ashamed to acknowledge truth from whatever source it come to us.  Even if it is brought to us by former generations and foreign peoples.  For him who seeks the truth there is nothing of higher value than the truth itself.” 

LAST WORDS:

Flattery can get you practically anywhere.  It’s staying there that gets tricky.

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Don’t Ask Polar Bears and Fools About Free Speech

July 2, 2009
Five in the Stones

Five in the Stones

DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL

When I was in active military service, 1966-70, I did not care about the sexuality of the person beside me, I cared about his professionalism.

 The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is discrimination pure and simple. It is an unnecessary, non-job related issue, and a blatant labor and civil rights disgrace. 

 It not only destroys the lives of the men and women directly affected, but also the military’s organizational unity.  It is a morale downer, a Salem Witch Hunt mentality introduced into the ranks. 

 The largely fundamentalist religiously inspired objection to gays is based upon misinformation (an actual and purposeful misreading of their own texts), a scapegoat us vs. them mindset, and an absolutist morality used generally as one more self-terrorizing control over the fearful toiling faithful. 

 If America is to ever achieve equality, freedom, and justice, we must strike down “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  Strike a blow for human rights and humanity.  We are either all Americans working in defense of our country and its ideals, or we are a nation of strangers, fighting for the barest survival. 7-02-09

POLAR BEARS AND CUB SCOUTS

 Woe is me!  Everything is going to hell in a hand basket!  We can’t do anything about it!  Wring hands!  Cry despair!  Weep!  Moan!  Thrash!  Have you gotten out of your SUVs?  Moved closer to work?  Convinced others of the need to ACT and quit bitching?  Is it the price of gas that bothers you, or the lack of it?  Would you quit hitting yourself over the head with the hammer, or go get another one if someone took yours away?  The time to ACT is now, and to hell with the system.  Do you need a leader to tell you not to put your damned finger in the light socket?  Too bad revelation comes so late to this benighted species.  Is it the wall of water rushing at you that scares you, or the fact that you were too dumb to notice it until the rising tide was at your doorstep?  Our over-consuming must stop at once.  Each of us has a part in that, regardless of what leadership, or the imbecile next door is doing.  Get off your butts and MOVE.  Or, don’t.  The future belongs – collectively – to all of us, if we all work for it.  It doesn’t exist for polar bears, or cub scouts, if we don’t. 6-22-08

FOOLS AND CORPORATIONS

 Today’s privately monopolized television serves rightwing corporatists by dumbing down the American people.  There is no choice, just program packages arranged like blood diamonds.  In television, the garbage includes:

  •  Religious programming – Christians only need apply.  They’re getting ready for Armageddon, 24-7.  Why do we have to pay to watch them?
  • “Ain’t corporations great?” propaganda, not one cloud on the big rig’s sky.  Not one word about how they changed the weather.
  • “Reality” shows, which are evidently scripted.  One can get just as excited at a professional wrestling match or roller derby – for as little cause.
  • “Beauty and fitness” programming – Americans care so very much about hair and blemishes.  Coach looks fifty years younger, hey?  Just a dab.
  • Right wing filtered news, commentary and opinion, which screams down the truth in favor of dogma and self-interest.  To hell with integrity.
  • Sports, improbably including auto/truck/motorcycle noise-making and gas-fuming circle-go-rounds – another loophole in EPA emission standards?  For those of us who left games at adolescence, it’s a real drag.
  • Shopping channels and infomercials feeding the callous over-consuming malaise destroying our planet.  There are addicts of all kinds.
  • Commercials – non-stop and multiplying.  Why do we have to pay for these?  The damned television people should be paying us to watch them!

Real history, especially recent U.S. history, is slighted, under-reported, and often misrepresented, or ideologically slanted.  We discuss firefights on entering Baghdad, but not the illegal policy and the criminal lies that drove them.  We see Troy and Rome, and incessant searches for objects of pseudo-history and outright myth – lost arks (boat-sized and box), spears of Longinus, grails and virgins, “true” crosses, and “god-ravaged” city ruins.  We don’t see labor history, women’s history, or civil and human rights history.  We don’t review Iran-Contra and the early days of the present administration’s emergence from the Reaganite distortion of our national progress.  Everything from Carter to Bush Jr., except for Clinton’s tacky sex life, is a black hole of non-accountability.

 This is all part of the Great Privatization of America.  “Do good and be rewarded” is Christian and Rightist hypocrisy.  They don’t do the right thing selflessly, but for a substantial bribe.  We are fools to allow corporations to determine our national information policy, control our public airways, own our means of communications.  We are fools to allow them to continue to distort our national consciousness, or to interfere with our right to meet and discuss and decide as a unified national community.  We are fools to allow them to keep us ignorant and apart.  3-09-08

FREE SCHOOLS, FREE LIBRARIES, FREE SPEECH

  Radio and television station owners should be held accountable in their charge to serve the public interest.  Instead, the right wing has been systematic in its suppression of the progressive voice and we ignore their censorship at our peril.

 The right wing has overwhelmed any residual of the “Fairness Doctrine.”  They have done so with free licenses granted by the American government on behalf of the American public that are worth millions of dollars to licensees.  The only requirement imposed upon them is to serve the public interest.

 A free and democratic society cannot survive without a free and fair flow of information.  All ideas should take their chances in the sea of democratic pluralistic debate.  It is an abomination to a free and equal society to tolerate any, most definitely including private, abridgement, censorship, or exclusion of fair and balanced opposing views.

 Right-wingers have taken over radio and television resources and foreclosed progressive voices on a systematic and pervasive level throughout the United States.  No progressive voices can now be heard in Boston, Baltimore, Atlanta, Washington D.C., or Philadelphia – in the heart of revolutionary America the cracked pots have replaced the cracked bell.  It is a deliberate creeping plague designed to manipulate American public opinion to undemocratic ends; it must be treated or it will kill free speech.

 President Obama’s inspired effort to reinvigorate American democracy will amount to a pimple on the butt of national history if the right wing is allowed to continue its assault on our democratic institutions. We can bear no more “fixed” news, no more right wing press dominance!  Let progressives fairly compete for the public interest. 

 There is no more important infrastructure repair for us to make than to preserve, defend and advance the democratic institutions that make America great: free schools, free libraries, free press, and freedom of speech.  3-08-09

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