Does wanting affordable health care make me a Democrat?

No, and yes.  Wanting a national healthcare policy stems from my paying attention to rising costs and exclusionary techniques used by the health insurance industry.  I have a better than average health care plan that will last as long as I live, if I can make the payments.  If I fail to make those very reasonable payments, of course, I’ll lose my health care plan and be forced to find a new provider. Both my wife and I have pre-existing conditions (because we’re in our fifties, because I broke my back while ditching my plane). Several pre-existing conditions.

So, I’m currently without a paycheck because I’m a public servant, and the Republican Party is out to make sure I pay for my pre-existing condition, no matter how much my provider wants to charge, and because barring that, they want to pretend that downsizing me out of a job will make enough difference to the national debt that the can re-balance the budget.  Forget or ignore the fact that only a Democrat has managed to balance the budget in my lifetime. Remember that the Republican party has never allowed any national health care plan to reach a floor vote, even though some of them have proposed or cosponsored national health care plans.

AARP has endorsed Obamacare, and I’m assured that this makes them an arm of the Democratic party.  I’m not so sure.  I think they’ve recognized that A Plan is better than No Plan.

WebMD has also answered some questions about Obamacare in a positive light.  Does this mean they’re also a bunch of commie Democrat sympathizers?  Probably only on the issue of health care.

I’m registered as a Dem, even though I have unregistered guns in my house and don’t intend to stop.  Perfectly legal in my red state.  If the Republican party ever came up with a comprehensive health care plan more inclusive than “Nooooo……” then I might register with them to support a specific candidate.

But for now, I’ve had my life saved by my health care program.  I want everybody in the nation to have that buffer against disaster, and I’m willing to call availability of health care a right, and not a privilege of wealth.  I guess that wanting everybody to have affordable health care has made me a Democrat.

I’ll probably be jumping parties when the issue at the top of my agenda becomes gun ownership.  But until everybody has health care, and can afford it, I won’t know, because that will the top, middle, and bottom of my political agenda.

Affordable Health Care is possible, and can be done by this generation.

Certain people are paying large sums of money to front the bald-faced lie that health care should not be available to every person in the U.S.

Time to remember why we are fighting for Affordable Health Care.

Here’s one reason: Prescription Medicine. http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/harvard-medical-study-links-lack-of-insurance-to-45000-us-deaths-a-year/?_r=0

Here’s another, more personal story.

Medical indigence.  Interesting term.  It applies to millions of people who work more than one job.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1495228/

Here’s a look at several more issues.v http://www.healthpaconline.net/health-care-issues.htm

It isn’t a question of whether the Democrats or Republicans have the moral high ground. It’s a matter of making sure that my children can have a health care plan even when they don’t turn out to be millionaires.  About 15% of Americans have no comprehensive health care, and the percentage climes each year.  We start fixing it with this generation, or it will be 30% of us without a plan in the next generation.

And the politicians who tell me that it can’t be done, or that it will bankrupt the country, or that the time isn’t right, are either lying or just plain wrong. I’m voting for lying, because they are politicians, and they are moving their lips. It can be done, and it can be done by this generation.

Lies hidden within truths?

We sometimes read that the best lies contain as much truth as possible. That’s true enough, I guess. This article may be an outstanding example of that. Harry Reid most likely was engaging in some thoughtless hyperbole – both sides of the political divide seem content with that, and both have enough ardent believers who’ll accept their lines uncritically to make this sort of hyperbole well worthwhile. I’ve been caught up in it a time or two.

Still, this article tries to disenfranchise Warren Buffet from the Billionaire’s Club. “Either Warren Buffet’s secretary has an incompetent tax accountant or Buffet has some pretty juicy tax breaks. I think the latter is more likely.” Which causes me to wonder. Should I trust Paul Roderick Gregory‘s math, which seems reasonable on the surface, but is in pursuit of a narrative, or Warren Buffet, who was talking about a very specific situation. I mean, if Gregory is such an economic guru, couldn’t he have discovered what Buffet’s “tax breaks” were, and figured out how many of them applied to other millionaires (and billionaires)?

US Post Office and other inefficiencies.

Here’s the thing. I don’t want the US Postal Service to run at a profit. See here. The profit is entirely in maintaining a cohesive country, and part of that is making sure that my cousin in Fort Benton, MT, can send a birthday card to my uncle in Carlsbad, NM, for the same price that my uncle in Sacramento, CA, can send a sample contract to his business associate in New York. (Sacto to NYC has efficiencies of volume that Ft Benton to Carlsbad will never have. Pure business practice would have people competing to mail between Sacto and NYC, but dropping the flow between small communities entirely, or making that sort of mail an inefficient cottage business. Small towns are already hurting enough, throughout the country.)

Yes, I think there is plenty of room to raise the price on first class mail. I also think that there is a large and sneaky group in congress who’re perfectly content to run the USPS into the ground legislatively, and claim that congressional ineptitude proves the the USPS isn’t effective, efficient or necessary. That is all founded on a lie, that makes a certain kind of reactionary voter happy, by enforcing a surreality in place of actually making sure that the country’s needs are met.

The US Army is also not run at a profit. I really don’t think that it should be, regardless of a Milo Minderbender‘s opinion. Like the US Army, the USPS may not be the best possible Post Office – just the best in the world, by a very large margin.

It’s time to stop screwing around with the things that make the US one powerful country instead of a whole bunch of city-states, which is exactly and precisely what the blind allegiance to teabagger protocols will net us. Us. One country, not 308 million countries of one.

Bought and Paid for

Gotta hand it to the Republicans on the supercommittee. Even the millionaires are coming out of the woodwork to tell us that they’re willing to pay more taxes in order to get the country moving, but the Republicans are going to hard line that one until they get thrown out for refusing to join the big-boys table.

Too bad, really. Before they started the lock-step dance, I used to vote for some of them. Now? Doesn’t matter what they look like, their going to vote as they’re told by the RNC. Who owns the RNC? Somebody does. It certainly isn’t making the Republican Reich vote for the public good. They’re voting directly against the public good when they screw the poor to protect the rich.

Whigs.

Republican Lockstep and punishing foreign investors

I’ve watched, in the least interested way, this story evolve.

US seeks record sentence for hedge fund boss in NY

What happened was that people have gotten together in such numbers to control the market that outsiders are increasingly disenfranchised. I’m about convinced that if you don’t have money and connections to invest through an insider trading specialist, you, like me, have watched your market investments rise up to nearly basis and crash back down repeatedly for the last decade. I no longer consider my mutual fund based IRAs a retirement fund. They’re a pseudo-scientific experiment in how long the market will attract small investors who don’t recognize that without a an insider in their corner, wall street is nothing but a pyramid or Ponzi scheme, and has been since 2000.

Doesn’t much matter in the end. Raj Rajaratnam has been sentenced to 11 years. He didn’t specifically defraud his customers. He simply defrauded everybody who was not inside on one of his trading scams.

What I care about, and what worries me, is that the hedge fund manager isn’t an American. Does the attorney’s office hope that they can set an example of longer sentences by picking up somebody who’s clearly a foreigner, and who won’t have a hometown following from one of the major political parties? (He isn’t really a Republican or a Democrat; he’s one o’ them dirty ferinners.)

Or, was the prosecutor’s office aware that the same mental picture that the Republicans and their lockstep cousins, the Tea Party, use to justify consistently filibustering against every piece of jobs legislation the president proposes will go insane if charges are pressed against one of their own? Maybe the insider trading schemes are so political party centric that any attempt to throw double decade penalties at an American who got caught with his hands in that particular cookie jar would be seen as a cheap political attack on a particular party? Maybe it is only safe to chastise foreigners for breaking the securities exchange laws. Maybe it would look bad if nine of ten inside traders turned out to be lining the pockets of one particular party. Which party would be tarred most heavily with that insider trading brush?

It’s very likely that the billionaires the Republican Party protects from higher taxes with one voice are simply not as emotionally invested in the tax argument as the bought and paid for politicians are in protecting their investors. Ah, I mean their staunch Republican Party contributors. The billionaires’ club can call this growing likelihood of a voters’ rebellion off by dropping some money on the Republicans to back off of this filibuster thing. Yes, the billionaires (and the millionaire auxiliary) bought and paid for their politicians, and their politicians have stayed bought (even the tea-partiers). It’s already become so obvious that the Republican hardline attitude is caused by loyalties that lie beyond voters and in the hands of the contributors who have bought and paid for that blind loyalty that every filibuster threatens to destabilize the voting blocks that keep the red state politicos useful.

Scrapping the national safety net

I’m proud to announce that seeing this picture brought tears to my eyes. I was so touched that I went back online to see if I could track down the story. Apparently, it’s true.

The gentleman whose grave is so righteously decorated was a part of the Greatest Generation. That generation brought in and supported social security, national welfare programs, and the first federal intervention through business subsidies to ameliorate the catastrophic economic collapse that was in progress during the 1930s.

Right now, there is a big political fracas brewing about cutting welfare, social security, and any other obvious government programs. Those programs were used to set our nation back on its feet after an entirely laissez faire economic meltdown led to mass starvation in this country.

A lot of people want to deny that Americans were dying of malnutrition during the great depression. When I went to high school in the 1970s, I had teachers that remembered classmates in their U.S. elementary schools who had quit coming to class because they STARVED TO DEATH. Yes, Americans starved to death in the 1930s because their local charities and local governments and local social organizations fell down — because the local folks were all poor. It’s just that some of them were a little poorer than others. We want to deny that today, but my teachers in the 1970s still remembered their dead friends. American friends. If we follow down this line of “reducing government” far enough, and if this stupid economic meltdown continues to stretch the difference between the richest and the poorest of us, we’ll start to see starvation deaths again.

I’m agin it.

Turning it all over to private industry or to the fed? Are these really the only choices?

There are seven billion people on Earth this year or next, and although the demographers think that that growth rate will slow in upcoming years, they’re banking on an ahistorical trend when they make such predictions. Whether the rate of population increase slows or not, barring a die back that makes the Black Death look like a summer cold, Earth will double in population over the next century.

Lots of folks are using the internet to complain that the US Government has never done anything good for the country, and that everything good that has happened in America is purely the result of individual initiative.

The internet they complain about the Gubmint on was developed using both private and public funding. The auto industry is a good example of private development that then turned to the gubmint to protect themselves from brash interlopers taking control of their industries.

And lots of them, of private businessmen making this country a better place, but you can also find lots of examples of the government making this country a better place, and from Queen Isabella to JFK, you can find examples of governments financing exploration, technical development, and good science that no private agency would be likely to fund, because the chances of success couldn’t be easily calculated, or the source of profit would not be immediately identifiable.

I’m not trying to argue that the government isn’t full of self interested people, I’m pointing out that, regardless of venue, self-interest and power seeking are a part of the human condition. Publicly funded science has paid off for the country, and so has private research and industry. We, as a culture, can poorly afford to argue that either side of that equation can be done away with. You can complain about the U.S. Government and force it to shrink. But Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon, BP, Microsoft, and AT&T keep growing, and shrinking the government simply cedes power away from something that the tea-party can influence, and invests it in corporations that don’t care what you and I think, and often aren’t even American.

I think that the government has to stay large enough to maintain control over our corporate entities, which involves remaining large enough to oversee them.

I also think that the issue at argument shouldn’t be size of government, or how prophetic the founding fathers were when they framed the constitution, but how to put the voters in control of the country. Actual control, not just shifting the liar in the seat back and forth between two parties that aren’t answering the need. Our government has been getting smaller in relation to our population for fifty years, but I don’t think things are any looser, or that we’re getting adequate bang for our buck. And I do think that there is an effort afoot to define the country’s economic health without referring to unemployment, the millions of people who lost their retirement nest-eggs in the latest stock market crash, or the fact that a growing percentage of the GNP rests in corporate coffers, doing individual citizens no good at all.

The citizens of this country, whom I consider the only important part of the country, are ceding stakeholder status in the running of the nation when we call for deregulation and ignore the elephant in the room. The corporations grow more powerful and less responsible for their actions with every deregulation. They don’t give a fig about illegal immigration, which is profitable to them, or our opinions, which are absolutely insignificant to Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon, BP, Microsoft, or AT&T, even if several million like-minded people give up their phones or cars and boycott. They do care when we, as a people, force them, through our government, to play fair by our standards, rather than their own.

Pay attention!

Congress does not have a policy permitting retirement at full pay after one term. Congress critters are on FERS, which is the same federal retirement program as the rest of the Federal government. In 1984, congressmen were on another program, CSRS, and did not pay into Social Security. They also were not eligible for social security, so that is a wash. You can google congressional retirement plans any time you like. It’s publicly available information available here.

Congress critters do not exempt themselves from the health care reform legislation – check here. They have a valid health care plan, and that is all that is required. I’m on the same health care plan I was on when the legislation went into affect. The only impact it has had on me is actually on my children, since they will be covered by my plan for five additional years, thanks to that legislation. I’m not exempt from health care reform, I was already involved in a health care plan, so the new legislation had little impact on my life.

Hey! most of the federal deficit was paid to American Corporations.The money is still in the U.S, or at least held by U.S. citizens – most of it went to the U.S. military industrial complex. The bombs and bullets went away, but the cash is either here or in off-shore accounts. When are those trillions going to trickle down to us, the hoi polloi? Methinks they won’t. Never. Trickle down doesn’t work when the corporations are handing out record-breaking bonuses during years when their companies claim losses. I’m guessing that a lot of that money is going into off-shore accounts.

I’m not in the life-boat yet, so I’m kind of pissed that they’re pulling in the ropes.

Bill