Tag Archives: Affordable Care Act

NO, ALL LIVES DO NOT MATTER

BLM

Black Lives Matter

Such has become the rallying cry for those protesting police violence against unarmed civilians, very often young black men. And the slogan and the movement represent the demand—not that black lives are to matter more than other lives—but that black lives be recognized as mattering at all. During the greatest part of the history of first the colonies and then the United States, it is obvious black lives didn’t matter one iota.

But some folks completely miss the point of Black Lives Matter. And often this is deliberate. The racist whites counter that BLM is racist itself. People who refuse to acknowledge that there are real bad cops out there who may not be racist but who operate from the standpoint that more force is always better and think so poorly of the people they are supposed to be serving that they disgrace the badge in interactions with the public on a regular basis.

Then there are the deadheads who allege BLM is anti-cop and simply masks the call to wantonly kill cops, as was done in Dallas last week with five policemen dying.

And finally, there is a widespread, though utterly mistaken, belief that Black Lives Matter is short for Black Lives Matter More Than Other Lives. So to counter that ridiculous reading of the cause they came up with the All Lives Matter slogan.

And an amazing variety of people have bought into that slogan, ranging from blacks themselves to white liberals who allow that yes, we must consider and support all life, to mainly white people who don’t give a shit about black lives and, while using this slogan as cover for a pretext of caring for everyone, really only believe that certain lives matter. And those lives that matter are the ones they deem worthy.

Receiving Welfare or Food Stamps? Your life doesn’t matter. Proof? Cuts to Welfare and Food Stamps that hurt people who need the help.

Children with inadequate diets who get at least some valuable nourishment in their schools? Their lives do not matter. Proof? Cutting meal programs in schools or changing the rules so that fewer needy children will have access to food assistance.

People with health insurance due to passage of the Affordable Care Act? Their lives do not matter. Proof? Over sixty efforts in Congress to repeal the ACA and the pledge of every major Republican Presidential candidate to replace the law with something nebulous but which will almost certainly result in fewer people wth health care insurance.

Victims of terroristic violence? Their lives do not matter. I’ll modify the “their lives do not matter” statement to “only some lives matter of people who are victims of terroristic violence”. Proof? The only outrage against terroristic violence from many in the United States comes when it is domestic—as in San Bernadino or Orlando and can be tied, however tenuously, to Islamic radicals. Or if it is terroristic violence against a European nation such as France or Belgium where one would presume the victims are white Christians or at least the majority are.

Remember when the Brussels attacks occurred? President Obama was in Cuba for an historic visit for a ball game as relations between the two nations are being normalized and followed that with a visit to Argentina where he and Mrs. Obama danced the tango at a state dinner. Right wing media was outraged.

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/curtis-houck/2016/03/24/cnn-panel-goes-nuclear-obama-over-going-ball-game-dancing-tango

But the following link wil provide a list of terror incidents to date in 2016 around the world, just about every day, and many many with multiple victims numbering at least double figures and many that far exceed the death toll in Brussels, but there was nobody keeping track of where Obama was because those victims had darker skin and were murdered in foreign countries that most Americans couldn’t even find on a map or globe (not that they’d do much better locating Belgium). Why? Because those lives did NOT matter so who gave a damn?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents,_2016

Or even back in the good old USA if its some white dude shoots up a store or church or theater or school, the right cares more about any calls to institute some controls on assault weapons than is does for the lives lost.

No, the slogan All Lives Matter is a subterfuge so that the lives that matter are only the ones deemed worthy, mostly by the right wing. I bid you beware if you are not one of their favorites. Depending upon your own personal peculiarties, at a critical point you might find that, contrary to the slogan, your life don’t mean shit.

 

WINNERS AND LOSERS

WinnersLosers

On June 25, 2015 the Supreme Court upheld the provision for subsidies in the Affordable Care Act regardless of whether the insured procured their insurance coverage through their own state exchanges or were forced into the federal exchange as their own state’s demented leadership refused to establish an exchange.

This ruling makes clear the winners and losers in this ongoing battle over trying to legislate the availability of health insurance for millions of Americans previously denied access, whether due to pre-existing conditions or lack of affordability.

WINNER————–Chief Justice John Roberts whose concise, common sense opinion sliced through all the nonsense of those who brought the lawsuit out of spite, not out of genuine concern the law was harmful. Of course that brought the enmity of conservatives, some of whom (okay a really tiny portion of whom) believe the Good Justice was blackmailed or worse.

http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/was-supreme-court-justice-john-roberts-blackmailed/

LOSER—————-Justice Antonin Scalia whose sputtering dissent, with phrasing like “interpretive jiggery-pokery”, reminds one of a pillar of the community found with his pants down in the local whorehouse amongst a bevy of belles but who would have you believe he was about to lead them in prayer.

WINNER————-President Barack Obama whose signature legislative accomplishment has survived yet another insidious but withering attack from the forces of politics, not of righteousness.

LOSERS————-Republican candidates for their party’s Presidential 2016 nomination who collectively and figuratively had pie shoved in their faces as again their predictions for the demise of the ACA were dashed on the rocks of futility with reactions ranging from the ridiculous to the ridiculous, nothing sublime remotely within their capacity to bloviate. Several shared their opinions via Twitter which proves once again twitter is for twits.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/06/gop-candidates-react-supreme-court-obamacare-ruling

WINNERS………..American Citizens who now have reason to feel more secure in the knowledge that it is less likely they will face either financial ruin from receiving health care when they are not insured and that the availability of such coverage will inure to their physical and mental benefit…even in terms of saving lives… by being able to obtain treatment. 

Gee, imagine that, a federal law that actually is good for the lives of ordinary people.

Economist Paul Krugman highlights the way the law is working after only two full years of implementation.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/26/opinion/paul-krugman-hooray-for-the-aca.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad&_r=0

……….The Affordable Care Act is now in its second year of full operation; how’s it doing?

The answer is, better than even many supporters realize.

Krugman cites, among other positives,  the expansion of coverage to as many as 15 million Americans,  Also

The newly insured have seen a sharp drop in health-related financial distress, and report a high degree of satisfactionwith their coverage.

Too, instead of a budget buster as the rampaging elephants would have you believe, it has helped in lowering the federal deficit and, if repealed, the deficit would rise again.

Krugman does not deny there are some difficulties, but not insurmountable ones. So long as a number of states refuse to expand Medicaid (placing a huge burden on state and local taxpayers, see http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2015/6/24/not-expanding-medicaid-can-cost-local-taxpayers) millions of the most desperate are still denied coverage.

He further speaks of premiums, which is a contentious issue, no doubt. However, the Commonwealth Fund found that the average increase in premiums for coverage under the ACA from 2014 to 2015 was ZERO.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/blog/2014/dec/zero-inflation-nationwide-for-marketplace-premiums

Now average does not mean no increases for anyone anywhere. Anecdotal evidence of large premium hikes are plentiful, especially in internet forums. And even the study above reports substantial increases in some states with lower costs in others.

Which brings me to my real point about WINNERS LOSERS.

So long as health insurance coverage in the United States is in the hands of private, mostly for profit companies, together with the ability of individual states to thwart the purpose of the Affordable Care Act and in light of the vagaries of state laws, insurance regulations, and insurance commissioners, there will be WINNERS and LOSERS in the game of health inusrance coverage and thus health itself.

The health and welfare of our citizens should not be subject to gamesmanship with keeping score a regular and necessary part of it.

This nation needs to wise up and create a system with true universal coverage. This could be achieved through a single payer system as our successful Medicare program could be expanded by making everyone eligible. That is my personal preference.

There are also hybrid systems such as in Australia with mandated coverage for all supported by general revenue taxes, a levy equivalent to our Medicare tax, and private insurance for some.

To me the chief flaw built into the ACA is that it is vulnerable to wanton attacks for purely political purposes, none of which have had either the intent or the ability to actually improve health care coverage in this country.

Of course the saddest part of these attacks is that the assailants simply do not care what harm they cause.

We can acknowledge that no system can be perfect. But our current system, even with the successes of the Affordable Care Act is still far below perfect.

Now, as we adjust to the reality of the ACA it will becvome ever more evident that we have a ways to go.

Let’s make WINNERS of the vast majority of our citizens and consign the LOSERS who oppose a better healthcare coverage system to the back pages of history where they belong.WINNE

TPP……TOO PECULIARLY (BI)PARTISAN

tpp

President Barack Obama has been touting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its companion Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TATIP). These are potential trade agreements, the former being negotiated with 11 other nations bordering the Pacific Ocean and the latter with Europe.

There have been accusations that the negotiations are secretive and that entering such pacts, no matter the assertions by the Administration, will result in the loss of American jobs. In that regard it is claimed to be similar as to what the effects were of the North American Free Trade Agreement, better known as the notorious NAFTA passed during Bill Clinton’s tenure that itself was highly praised in advance for its benefits for American workers and highly cursed since by the thousands, if not millions, of American workers who lost jobs as a result.

Obama has encountered resistance to TPP within his own Democratic Party, most notably from Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Currently there is Congressional legislation pending granting Trade Promotional Authority to the President, the power to cut trade deals and expedite their passage through Congress without amendments or procedural hurdles.

And Republicans are leading the way.

Now these are the same Republicans who have opposed just about any legislation favored by Obama, or any executive action, or any thought speech or motion by Obama down to whether he installs the new roll of toilet paper so it rolls over rather than under.

Affordable Care Act? It got no Republican votes even though its basic premise was first developed by Republicans.

Cap and Trade? Nothing has really been done to enact legislation that would allow companies to, in effect, trade for credits to allow more carbon dioxide emissions. But again this principle first emerged under a Republican. George H.W. Bush was President and cap and trade been cited as a market approach to reducing pollution. Senator John McCain was even the main sponsor of such a bill in both 2003 and 2005. Since Obama took office you’d think he had decided to confiscate the first born of every American family and sell them into sexual slavery from the Republican reaction if the topic was even broached.

Immigration reform? George W. Bush tried to get legislation passed and many Republicans favored passing some measures, though the details drew varying levels of support. Now, it seems, that any efforts by Obama to get some degree of reform is such anathema to Republicans that many are willing to self-deport as a symbolic gesture against reform.

And then there is the ongoing case of Iran and its intentions…or not…to build a nuclear weapon. The Obama administration, together with five other nations, has concluded a framework of an agreement with Iran that would prevent such a weapon from being constructed. Finalization of such pact is pending as the details are committed to the legal niceties.

This would appear to be a good thing, keeping an atomic bomb away from what is considered a rogue state. And I recognize that Iran could break the pact, though its actions will be closely monitored. But, then again, Japan could renounce our World War II Treaty with them, re-arm, and flood the U.S. market with autos and electronics, including those fascinating toilets (with the toilet paper coming off over the top, of course.

But first 47 Republican Senators sent an open letter to Iran’s leadership stating their outright opposition to ANY agreement and their intention to thwart Obama at every turn. Some have even voiced a desire for war against Iran in preference to even the most stringently enforceable treaty possible.

So, just why would Republicans all of a sudden fall all over themselves to work with President Obama on the TPA for both the TPP and TATIP? By god they’ve been willing to work with Democrats to get them to agree in the Senate in order to have enough votes to ensure passage.

In the past few years we have witnessed no cooperation between the two parties in Congess unless the American public was going to get screwed.

Senate Democrats may have maintained unity to prevent the fast tracking sought by Obama,

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/12/senate-democrats-trade-promotion-authority_n_7267600.html

But the mere fact that Republicabns are siding with President Obama on this issue should be sufficient to raise suspicion if not simply reject the TPA out of hand.

The old saying is Politics makes strange bedfellows, commonly atributed to American writer and essayist and friend of Mark Twain, Charles Dudley Warner, though it may have derived from Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Obama and Senate Republicans make for strange bedfellows indeed.

Anyone have pictures?

GOP TO WORLD—-DIE!

keep-calm-and-die-die-my-darling-2

Well Republicans in the House of RepresentativesThe People’s House…have now unveiled their budget proposal.

Naturally it is a travesty. I’m not going to waste my time analyzing every tidbit but summaries indicate that three areas are addressed that bode dire consequences.

First, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is again on the table. There have been approximately as many attempts at repeal as there have been people who have gained insurance under the law, somewhere above ten million.

Second they seek to slash SNAP and Medicaid by turning the programs into block grants for the states who will have full control as to how those funds will be spent.

Third, in a strange way to actually balance the budget they want to increase defense spending!

That’s according to the summary of those proposals to be found here.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/17/republican-budget_n_6885244.html

 

There is one thing each of these proposals have in common.

Death!

First of all in the short time the Affordable Care Act has been in effect there are numerous documented cases of lives saved of people with severe illnesses or injuries who, prior to the law, were unable to procure health insurance coverage.

There have been credible estimates that, absent the ACA, as many as 45,000 Americans died each year due to lack of health insurance. For a discussion of those estimates and the reasoning behind them see this:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/sep/06/alan-grayson-claims-45000-people-die-year-because-/

The basic argument is this. People without insurance often have no access to essential preventative health care and get no treatment for serious, potentially fatal illnesses until it is too late for treatment to save their lives.

I’ve used this high figure…or similar ones…previously in arguments in favor of the ACA. It is irrelevant whether it is 100% accurate or whether the number can be quantified.. Common sense tells us that people with no health insurance who are thus unable to access medical care have their physical health put at risk with ensuing death a definite possibility. And aren’t we told constantly by the right that all lives are precious?

So removing over ten million people from the rolls of the insured means more deaths.

Too, since the law prohibits insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, people with life threatening illnesses can now be assured of being able to procure insurance.

SNAP and Medicaid both provide assistance to millions that can lead to improved lives or even, as above, saved lives. Medicaid beneficiaries due to no or low-paying jobs or disabilities have low incomes which do not allow for the purchase of insurance. But there are studies and real life experiences that show that under Medicaid they can obtain needed care which, while saving lives as having regular insurance does as described earlier, also frequently enables them to be healthy enough to work and to thus contribute to the economy and pay taxes.

SNAP helps families put food on the table. Despite unsupported allegations to the contrary SNAP recipients make healthier food decisions than do other people.

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/junk-food-stamps-snap

Yet these block grants mean fewer  citizens receive the assistance they need. States already set the criteria for Medicaid eligibility which means a wide swing between states of the maximum income a person can have. This is especially troubling for SNAP since we’re talking entire families including children being negatively affected.

While death may not be such a direct consequence of fundamental change in food programs as in health insurance coverage,  cutting those programs makes life more difficult so if you’re against life are you then favoring death?

Ah, defense spending. Easy to love if you think we should put boots on the ground for every imagined offense against American security/pride/attempt to control other lands; preceded of course by the requisite multiple bombing runs. And the more hardware the better lest the military contractor element of the military/industrial complex have fewer funds to pay their employees, er Congressmen.

Somehow the fact that escapes Congress is that we are not now engaged in any wars as the term is generally understood, thus justifying huge cuts in what we spend on our military, still the most in the world,

Naturally the higher the military budget the greater the odds of military adventures whether though conventional bombers, drones, shelling from our mighty navy, or from those boots on the ground, unfortunately those boots clinging tightly to the feet of real live human beings whose chances of remaining that way are sunstantially diminished.

And while I have been concerned with American lives to this point our military misadventures also inevitably lead to removing lives of the citizens of other nations the majority of whom, in fact, do not have “Jihadist” painted on their foreheads as perfect targets for American snipers.

Now, will this budget get passed? Not very damned likely in my opinion as it will soon appear obvious that the budget will in no way truly eliminate deficits.

After all it was modeled on Paul Ryan’s prior efforts with the same goal but the reasonable projection that deficits would extend to at least 2043 or so.

I suspect the new budget proposal will prove to have any impact on deficits for a similar time, and by then I’ll probably be dead and thus unable to say, “I told you so!”

THE COMEDIANS

comedians

Jamelle Bouie is a young writer for Slate. He covers policy, politics, and race. I have read many very interesting stories from his pen and our opinions are compatible more often than not.  I have quoted from his pieces and posted them on Facebook.

But I find myself at odds with him here. And it’s on a relatively simple matter. He believes Jon Stewart of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Stewart has announced he is stepping down from his perch as host of the hit satirical cable program later this year.The liberal world that pays attention to such matters is in mourning. He has been our “spokesman” for over a decade and a half as he has torn down the facade so often erected by the right of political positions and absurdist societal ideals that are based on superstition, distortions and outright lies.

But he has not been hesitant to bring to our attention the sometimes hilarious, and, at times, equally ugly and disturbing faux pas of actual liberals and even of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, true liberals only in the worst nightmares of of those who oppose their every action or word.

But the primary function of Stewart is to make his audience laugh. And his audience mostly skews liberal. It may be the only two conservative viewers he has are Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, both digging for ammunition to maintain ongoing feuds, just as Stewart himself mines their programs for his own material, taking extra delight in tossing barbs their way.

And when Stewart is sometimes attacked for his mainly liberal take on things and notation is made of his show’s influence and higher credibility ratings than either most mainstream or conservative media, he is wont to protest that he is “merely a comedian”.

Bouie dissents.

More often however, Stewart’s stance is frustrating. His protests to the contrary, Stewart is a pundit, and like many pundits, he’s wed to a kind of anti-politics, where genuine difference doesn’t exist (or isn’t as relevant as we think) and political problem-solving is mostly a matter of will, knowledge, and technocratic know-how.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/02/jon_stewart_stepping_down_from_the_daily_show_he_was_bad_for_liberals.html

I like this writer but have to disagree with him here. But our differences may stem more from our age disparity and the perspectives our own life experiences represent. He graduated from college in 2008, I in 1969.

Perhaps his relative youth lends him more optimism that true engagement on the issues is possible. I, on the other hand, have been witness to the deterioration of the relationship between our two major national “sides”— conservative and liberal.

I have vivid memories of my (thankfully brief) embrace of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and voting for Richard Nixon in 1968 upon my first eligibility. And though today I would not support either of these legendary Republicans based on their platforms and accomplishments in their time, today I’m not sure many conservatives would either, were they to look more closely at what they, especially, Nixon did. And that is utterly apart from Watergate which really cannot eradicate his diplomatic overtures to China or establishment of the now frenetically hated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or (GASP!) …as modern conservatives disparage the minimum wage itself…Nixon’s proposal of a Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) in 1969.

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=2194

Bouie sees Stewart as feeding into uncompromising dysfunction of the contemporary political dialogue (more accurately simultaneous monologues) and the seeming inability of Congress to pass anything other than the 3462nd attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and sponsoring bills to eliminate even more long-standing laws.

I see Stewart as providing a necessary counterpoint to…in  my own views… a far conservative right wing wanting to dismantle the great progressive improvements to America since…let’s say…the New Deal. And he makes me laugh, though much of that laughter is as attributable to his “correspondents” as it is to him.

And I need laughter. As much as I may be the beneficiary of confirmation and validation of my own opinions I am the receptor of material that tickles my funny bone. Comfort food, if you will.

In this very piece whether you agree with my views, individual or as a whole, that I express here, is irrelevant. I know some of you do not see things as I do. But this is about Stewart and what place he merits in our psyche.

As much as I admire Jon Stewart and would love to have a conversation with him over a few beers, in the end, though, whether you deem Stewart a comic or an acutely perceptive political pundit cum humor, he is simply one of the Comedians and I am not referring to characters in the Graham Greene novel of the same name.

Then again, it could be the Lords of FOX who take him much too seriously nail it, which would..I believe..make them the Tontons Macoutes 

YOU GOTTA HAVE (NO) HEART

HEART

There is a 1950’s Broadway musical called Damn Yankees. It is based on a book by Douglass Wallop titled The Year The Yankees Lost The Pennant.  The premise of that novel is that the perennially hapless Washington Senators (the baseball team not the upper chamber of Congress) are given a new jolt of life when a young player from out of nowhere, Joe Hardy, gives the team a lift as he helps slug them into first place.

Ah, but Joe is really Joe Boyd, a middle-aged fan who once dreamt of starring for his home town team. But the nefarious Mr. Applegate transforms him to Hardy, expecting to collect his soul in the bargain. In the musical the song You Gotta Have Heart is sung by some of the ballplayers in an optimistic paean to the sport that soon becomes reality when Hardy hits his way into their and their fans’ hearts.

Alas Applegate threatens to pull the plug on Hardy and retransform him to ordinary Joe Boyd, depriving the people of their sports salvation.

This musical is, in a sense, being reprised now in Washington, D.C. with a new cast and no musical renditions praising heart and planned legislative action absent any heart at all. The part of Applegate is shared by Charles and David Koch.

You see with the new Republican majority in both Houses,  Congress is certain to renew efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (ACA)(I refuse to use the common name for the law, deeming it derogatory). Absent outright repeal other measures may be utilized to thwart full implementation of the employer mandate or to end or severely limit the funding aspects of the law, effectively emasculating it.

To boot, the non-musical version of The Supremes is contemplating a move that will intervene to remove the repeal stigma from Congress. It has accepted the case of King v Burwell. That litigation is a challenge to the provisions of the law providing federal premium subsidies to some health policy holders based on their income.

Recall that the law established a marketplace for the new plans through exchanges, intended to be operated by the states, but with a federal exchange available should a state not act to set up its own. 36 states chose not to operate their own. Several million Americans therefore purchased policies on the federal exchange with most of them eligible for the premium subsidies.

Some unfortunate language in the law stated, in effect, that the subsidies were available only for policies purchased on state exchanges. Other language clearly demonstrates the intent of Congress to make the subsidies effective regardless of where the coverage purchased.

The Supreme Court will decide whether the narrow language of the law controls, strictly interpreted, or whether the law, and thus the subsidies, will remain as before the challenge. If the former, millions now covered may not be able to afford their insurance without the subsidies.

Now that would not be the total repeal the Republicans in Congress seek, yet it would so undermine the ACA that the delight of GOPers would be palpable.

Obviously full repeal would bring dancing in the streets…no doubt to the strains of You Gotta Have (No)Heart.

But think about it. If millions are left with policies intact but no way to afford them, or the law is repealed in toto, that means millions of people will now be up the creek with health care coverage. A SCOTUS decision against subsidies would mean the paddles would be too expensive and repeal would mean no paddles can be bought at all.

How in the world can either result be good for the United States of America? The Affordable Care Act, despite any imperfections or weaknesses, has enabled approximately ten million citizens to be covered under some health insurance plan that did not previously have that privilege. And having insurance saves lives. That is a concrete positive of the law.

Most importantly ending or severely altering the law will have devastating financial and health consequences for real people, not abstract and wrong headed political philosophies.

I don’t know that statistics have been compiled demonstrating how many lives have been saved due to the ACA, but I do know that there is ample anecdotal evidence of many cases. One is presented here. David Tedrow of Raleigh, N.C. received a life saving liver transplant earlier this year. he had fallen ill in 2010 and, as the disease progressed, finally was unable to work.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/11/08/without-obamacare-i-would-have-died-im-scared-the-supreme-court-is-going-to-gut-the-part-that-saved-me/

With lower income he could no longer afford the health coverage he’d had and became uninsured. Then the ACA marketplace opened last year and he signed up. With his subsidy he could afford it. But he is in one of the states without its own exchange and will lose his subsidy if SCOTUS rules wrongly. Of course under repeal he’d have no coverage at all. Remember, one portion of the law requires insurers to cover regardless of pre-existing conditions. If Tedrow losses this policy he will be unlikely to procure another at all, affordable or not.

Simon Maloy of Salon looks at the upcoming Supreme Court decision and expounds on the potential ramifications.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/11/08/without-obamacare-i-would-have-died-im-scared-the-supreme-court-is-going-to-gut-the-part-that-saved-me/

Maloy takes another whack at the topic in another piece. In that one he looks at the possible SCOTUS gutting of the ACA as maybe even a negative to the GOP due to the public outcry that may erupt when millions lose insurance.

http://www.salon.com/2014/11/10/scotus_could_roil_the_gop_how_new_threat_to_obamacare_may_backfire_on_the_right/

The Republicans and conservatives who clamor for the elimination of the Affordable Care Act tend to carefully avoid discussing the inevitable results of the law’s demise: exploding health insurance costs, spikes in uninsurance, general chaos in the health insurance market, and the very real chance that people will die. The GOP doesn’t have a plan for what comes after the ACA, they just want it gone, no matter the consequences. If the Supreme Court rules against the government in King v. Burwell, they’d be forced to face down those consequences, and there’s a good chance they won’t like what they see.

As he notes the fix for the subsidies is simple enough…a minor amendment with corrective language clarifying that the subsidies were to apply no matter which exchange the policy was purchased on.

That will be a cold day in hell to see the GOP surrender on this issue.

So from this angle it appears that there is an enormous chance that the Republican chest will be ripped wide open an the vacant cavity where the heart normally is will be exposed for all to see. That is so whether the ACA is repealed or the Supreme Court rules negatively and Congress fails to pass the easy fix.

The only questions is whether the besotted public will finally have enough of their heartlessness.

One can only hope this musical closes in New Haven.

 

 

 

IT’S GOOD NEWS WEEK

Goodnewsweek2009

Pardon me if I seem a little tired to you. I am positively worn out. From what, you ask? Well from celebrating the good news that has been consolidated in some stories found over the past week. Not to worry. Though I live in Morgantown, W.Va. whose reputation for post sports event destruction in victory is surpassed only by Genghis Kahn and his Hordes, I celebrated peacefully, even having a nice lunch Saturday with four conservative friends and I remained alcohol free to boot.

You should be accustomed to seeing headlines or hearing TV pundits loudly exclaim about the failures of President Barack Obama. But here in Wit and Wisdom Central we are rejoicing in his accomplishments. Oh, now you laugh because from what appears in both the mainstream media and most decidedly in the various outposts of the right wing noise and obfuscation machine, the news has been portrayed as so bad and Obama as so incompetent that he has to ask for Secret Service help in tying his shoelaces.

Even former enthusiastic supporters, those who have voted for him twice (whether that list includes Alison Lundergan Grimes we may never know) have soured on him, so we are told and that is why polls reveal that he is the least popular Chief Executive in this nation’s glorious history. And that is true. President Barack Obama’s lowest approval ratings are below those of any POTUS ever to occupy the Oval Office…any Potus to occupy the Oval Office since JFK except for LBJ, RMN,GRF, JEC, RWR, GHWB, WJC, and GWB.

That’s right, the lowest approval of Obama has been 39% but each of his predecessors fell below that mark at some time in their tenures.

http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/data_access/data/presidential_approval.html

But even more good news has been summarized which, if one thinks about it, may be why that approval rating is as high as it is. Plainly this good news is that there are at least 14 specific items of positive news about the nation’s performance on his watch/

Here are a few

 

1. We’ve now had 63 straight months of economic expansion.

3. Unemployment has dropped from 10.1% in October of 2009 to 5.9% and projected to reach 5.4% by summer of 2015.

5. The Federal budget deficit is shrinking. It’s been reduced by two-thirds since 2009.

7. For 95% of American taxpayers, income taxes are lower now than just about any time in the previous 50 years.

8. Our dependence on foreign oil has shrunk due to record domestic oil production and improved fuel efficiency standards.

And possibly the most important since the legislation passed to effectuate this has been one of the most contentious is memory:

9. At least 7 million more Americans now have health insurance than before.

http://jeff61b.hubpages.com/hub/14-Facts-About-The-Obama-Presidency-That-Most-People-Dont-Know

Within the story itself, alongside the bullet points, you can read in more detail what the numbers show and link to the sources if you have doubts of the veracity of these claims.

With regards to the economy and the recovery from the recession that was ongoing when Obama took office, he has led a recovery that exceeds that led by Ronald Reagan after the recession that began shortly after his inauguration.

THIS IS GOOD NEWS!

Well, as much as I take issue with the Commander In Chief, especially when he’s doing Commander in Chiefy things like drones and bombs and Guantanamos and boots on the ground but not really and failing to punch Vladimir Putin in the nose, you may be surprised to learn that the guardian of our dollars has done a pretty good job of that in many of the aspects of those efforts upon which our Presidents are often judged.

Naturally the critics will nit pick and assert that Obama does not merit kudos for  the recovery and the drop in unemployment. They will loudly proclaim that his policies had no positive effect.and that other forces were at play. And those with the perspicacity to recognize perfidy and mendacity…often called a bullshit detector…have a ready and apt response. When things go bad the President is responsible so when they go right, he deserves the credit.

I’ll ignore these critics.

 

I am going to P-A-R-T-Y.

 

FOOLS PARADE

fools-parade-77

You may be familiar with this title from the Davis Grubb novel and the movie adaptation starring Jimmy Stewart. You may also be familiar with another Grubb novel, Night of The Hunter, and its subsequent big screen depiction starring Robert Mitchum.

While both stories are set in Depression era West Virginia (Grubb was born in Moundsville) Fools is somewhat lighter hearted and has a happy ending. Hunter, on the other hand, is downright scary as ex-con Mitchum tries to get his hands on some hidden loot and threatens the lives of two children, among others, to fulfill his money lust.

But I’m not speaking here of fiction and made-up characters. I’m presenting, sadly, real life characters eminently qualified for mockery but who are also eminently scary for what they want to do to children AND adults, consenting or not.

This is a parade of fools masquerading as serious candidates for public office. Coincidentally they are all Republicans. Or maybe there is no coincidence. As a character in Anthony Horowitz’s Point Blank observes

Where some
people see coincidence, I see conspiracy. That’s my job

Considering the commonality of the statements and actions of these GOP office seekers I see no coincidence. I see conspiracy.

Kicking off the parade, merrily making his way down Main Street as Drum Major, is one Thom Tillis, hoping to unseat Kay Hagan as Senator from North Carolina. In a recent debate with Hagan he claimed “By voting for Obamacare, Sen. Kay Hagan ‘voted to kill the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs.’ ” That’s false information presented in a distorted manner.

Scott Walker is campaigning to be re-elected governor of Wisconsin. He doesn’t like the minimum wage. “Jobs that involve the minimum wage are overwhelmingly jobs for young people starting out in the workforce.” Now, if overwhelmingly means slightly more than 50% he’s right. But any dictionary definition of “overwhelmingly” will reveal that is not what it means.

Next down the street in a flaming red convertible is Scott Brown, the peripatetic Senate candidate who may soon show up on your doorstep soliciting votes. He combine his worries about our Mexican border with the current unwarranted Ebola hysteria into this, “One of the reasons why I’ve been so adamant about closing our border because if people are coming through normal channels, can you imagine what they can do through a porous border,”

Yes, cruise ships carrying thousands of passengers from Ebola ravaged West Africa are docking in Cancun every day and discharging their infectees to wend their way to Laredo where they intend to immediately discharge their rotten bodily fluids into the local water supply.

(What is it with these guys named Scott, and whatever happened to Randolph Scott?)

Riding on The Conspiracy Theory Float is one Joni Ernst.”All of us agreed that Agenda 21 is a horrible idea. One of those implications to Americans, again, going back to what did it does do to the individual family here in the state of Iowa, and what I’ve seen, the implications that it has here is moving people off of their agricultural land and consolidating them into city centers, and then telling them that you don’t have property rights anymore. These are all things that the UN is behind, and it’s bad for the United States and bad for families here in the state of Iowa.”

Agenda 21 is a United Nations sustainability program, voluntary and non-binding on the U.S. and signed by that well-known Commie, President George H.W. Bush in 1992. I can tell you exactly how many Iowa farm families have been forced to move to urban areas. ZERO! Field of Dreams is less fantasy than her Agenda 21 silliness.

Arriving next on the Koch brothers float …actually a train of fifty floats because, well because they have the money to do anything they want, buying parades and elections and countries alike…we have Mitch McConnell who is fighting for his political life in Kentucky with Alison Lundergan Grimes mounting a strong challenge for his Senate seat.

“Kentucky Kynect is a Web site. It was paid for by a $200-and-some-odd-million grant from the federal government. The Web site can continue. But in my view, the best interest of the country would be achieved by pulling out Obamacare, root and branch…. Now, with regard to Kynect, it’s a state exchange. They can continue it if they’d like to. They’ll have to pay for it because the grant will be over. And with regard to the Medicaid expansion, that’s a state decision. The states can decide whether to expand Medicaid or not. In our state, the governor decided to expand Medicaid.

Well the web site, which he adores, does not exist without the Affordable Care Act, and neither does the Medicaid expansion which he feels is all right because it’s a state choice. If the law is repealed the health insurance for over 400,000 Kentuckians goes in the crapper.

And now occupying the esteemed position of Grand Marshal of the Fools Parade is the truly amazing Louie Gohmert of Texas, looking to retain the seat in the House of Representatives on which he has parked his brain since 2005.

Befitting Gohmert’s superiority, his place as a Fool among fools, his spoken inanities are so frequent and so numerous, that to list them here would take more time than I have since I need to see my urologist for followup on December 18. However, I do have one collection of them judged to be his worst. Like favorite Baroque composers, or rock guitarists, or home run hitters you may have your own favorites. And like those categories there are many possible choices that you must sort through to come up with your own rankings.

But check out the ones to be found here. http://blogs.houstonpress.com/news/2013/05/gohmert_muslim_brotherhood_ter.php?page=2

I won’t spoil all the fun but one has to do with nominating Allen West for Speaker of the House AFTER he had lost his bid for re-election.

Time to go home and let the cleanup begin.While it has been fun and joyous to witness this spectacular, our next entry for this biennial event is not due until 2016. Who will be the Grand Marshal then? Christie? Cruz? Walker? Santorum?

Tune in then and hope there is no cause to turn on and drop out prior to then.

ASSHOLES—NATURE OR NURTURE?

ass

This is intended for the assholes who still want to repeal the ACA; deny equal marriage rights; claim that ISIS has crossed our border with intent to wipe Little Rock off the map; still assert that the trickle down theory works (hint, that’s piss, not money and it ain’t trickling it’s a torrent); deny equal pay for equal work; prevent far too many of our citizens who do work from earning a life sustaining living for these citizens and their families  fuck over the poor at every opportunity; don’t know of a country they wouldn’t send our troops to invade while their butts sit in front of their TV screens with the only operable channel being FOX News; claim racism doesn’t exist despite the ever growing number of young  (and some old) black men and women shot, tazed, choked, arrested, beaten, etc. with the only justification for doing so being the color of their skin; are perfectly willing to put all kinds of shit into our air, water and anyplace else it’s probably going to harm us; cheat the public out of billions even trillions of dollars and continue to live in McMansions while somebody found with a joint or who commits petty theft rots in jail; keep calling for more tax cuts when they already have tax advantages more than all of us; run corporations that they claim are people despite the fact that forming a corporation in the first place means you are (legally) avoiding being treated as a person for your fuckups and the money you make can be taxed at lower rates than if you were an individual; refuse to take the steps necessary to repair or replace our crumbling infrastructure; object to establishing a theocracy in the United States—unless of course it is a Christian one; use religion (usually Christianity) to discriminate against people and/or treat them like shit when they don’t share their narrow-minded views; deny climate change; spend ungodly sums of money in an effort to buy elections; want to gut or eliminate Social Security and Medicare; maintain an insane war on drugs that has wasted so much of our tax dollars to no effect but which leads to status crimes putting people in ugly violent prisons for years if not for life; refusing to end the death penalty that far too often (too often being at least once) has sent innocent folks to death row for years if not to their executions; pervert what were intended to be physically challenging collegiate extracurricular activities into valueless enterprises which do not serve the students but primarily act as a farm system for professional teams and the greedy owners of those same professional teams who simply love someone else paying for the player development that benefits only them; act overly concerned with the union of sperm and egg up to the moment when that union becomes a living and breathing human being and then seemingly ignoring and abandoning them if they are not the right color or member of the proper economic and/or social class; AND, last but certainly not least, the millions of our citizens perfectly content with the quo of this status.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?

The past few years we have seen an incredible number of political candidates from the right making the most asinine and outrageous statements on either contemporary issues in general and more particularly as part of their election campaigns. I do not speak of legitimate differences of opinions or viewpoints, but what I would call demonization of at least part of the very electorate they seek votes from.

The latest flagrant example is one Dr.Annette Bosworth,  running for the Republican nomination for Senate in South Dakota, hoping to succeed retiring Democratic Senator Tim Johnson.. She has posted this viral image on her personal Facebook page.

r-BOSWORTH

That does conclude today’s lesson, but I would suggest that the lesson is very much different from what Dr. Bosworth seemingly is attempting to convey. She is denouncing people for needing help, if you get right down to it. The spirit of her post here indicates she finds the people getting food stamps to not be worthy of any assistance.

Furthermore she is an avowed opponent of the Affordable Care Act. This law, to date, has enabled millions of people to procure health insurance coverage where it was neither affordable or in some cases totally unavailable previously due to pre-existing conditions. After all, how could she, a physician, oppose a law that demonstrable saves people’s lives. Just ask Dean Angstadt.      http://articles.philly.com/2014-04-28/news/49440051_1_health-plan-obamacare-life-saving-surgery

Now Dr. Bosworth is not without compassion. In response to the recent shootings of three American doctors in war torn Afghanistan she wrote:

Today in Kabul Afghanistan, America lost three citizens, and the women and children of Afghanistan lost caring advocates dedicated to their health and well being.  As a doctor who has traveled on mission trips to countries brought to the brink by disaster, I was not surprised to learn that at least one of the doctors killed, a beloved husband and father, has been described by his wife as wanting to share his gift of medicine with the under-served, and as aspiring to live his life as the “hands and feet of Christ

http://dakotawarcollege.com/

Curiously I have learned that this “South Dakota War College” is not an institution maintained by the Department of Defense (DOD) like the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania dedicated to the advanced training of the nation’s military upper echelons of leadership or any of the facilities used to train military leaders from other nations who have returned home and executed coups against their civilian leaders or even any of the service academies well known to the American public. No, the SDWC is simply a conglomerate of conservative political candidacies in the state. (One cannot ignore the irony of this title.)

I acknowledge I am not presenting this next part with  any nuances or subtleties that would present a fuller picture, but the South Dakota State Medical Board has had several interactions with Dr. Bosworth in the past couple of years including attempting to monitor her mental illness to ensure it does not affect her ability to care for her patients. I mention this not for any belief I that persons with such conditions are incapable of holding responsible positions either in private commerce or as a political representative, but I do wonder whether such fact will influence voters as it has in other examples in our history. Too, since she is also a fan of Che Guevara some of the contradictions in her life are startling.

However, any objection I have towards her is purely as a candidate holding the views she has about Americans with real needs whose problems must be addressed at least in part through government action.

Why is this woman’s compassion for the medically needy people in Afghanistan not extended to the needy people who share her citizenship?

Che Guevara?