True Gift of the Gab

True Gift of the Gab

Reform/Repeal:
Well I do declare, I have to give them credit; the newly inducted 112th Republican House of Congress, in wasting no time has gotten down to their recanting agendas in a hurry. No more than one day after being sworn into office, they initiated procedures to repeal the newly enacted healthcare bills and have declared an all out war on the Clean Air Act, the EPA and the environment. It appears this is strictly to protect the interests of the medical insurance industry, big oil and coal pollution at the expense of everyone else. For a more affordable and qualitative healthcare plan, clean air and water, an healthier environment and regulation in lowering pollutant emissions is certainly one big win for Americans overall. These bills will realize those advantages just mentioned. So essentially, you cannot sugarcoat it, the Republicans are protecting industrial and corporate greed interests from the toll and sacrifice of the American people. Just guess which special interest groups and lobbyists are stuffing both the Republican representatives’ backside pants pockets with dead presidents in supporting the Republican moves? Yes sir and ma’am, yore right, these very same insurance and energy industries.

Most folk state that these actions are simply symbolic gestures, for final House passages would first have to be approved by a majority controlled Democratic Senate and Obama’s veto power. But whether they slither their repeals through or not, the already enacted bills and legislative outlays for America’s medical and environmental health and well being could experience endless defunding escapades and delays by the Republican House.

Republican congressmen with their two-page addendum added to their two-page repeal papers that concerns the complex two thousand plus-paged healthcare bill are essentially devising a plan to make a scheme for their plan of a scheme to put healthcare in default. Now, if you understand that, your grasp of knowledge is far superior over mine and I just wrote it.

Seriously though, Republicans in pursuing political power, over all others are truly the masters of utilizing quips that mislead and misinform. But, it is the followers who are fooled and latch onto this rhetoric hook line and sinker that tends to baffle me. On healthcare, Republicans without merit constantly stated the healthcare bill as “government takeover Obamacare.” Of course this was outright untrue, there never was to be a government takeover of insurance even when the public option was initially part of the bill and it was always legislated to be run by the private sector. Obama expressed his wishes for content, but allowed both houses to build on and come up with the final wording on the bill. That is what took so long…the endless obstacles Republican House representatives and senators conducted to politically stall and attempt to kill the new passage. Actually, the final bill has Republican fingerprints all over it in the form of amendments. Obama had nothing to do with the final wording, it was written by both Houses members. People today though, still believe the bill is a government takeover and that Obama wrote it simply because of the innumerable and immeasurable Republican ruses of presenting it that way where people would perceive it that way. In fact, the Pulitzer winning Politi-Fact announced last year that “a government takeover of healthcare” was the biggest lie of the year.

To ensure the public was listening, to hammer the final nail in the coffin, Bill Sammons, Fox News managing editor sent a memo to all Fox News reporters ordering them and other staff on air to refer to the healthcare bill as the “government run health insurance plan” whenever they were discussing it.

Now, Republicans have added another tag. Today, whenever I see all the Republicans speaking of the passed healthcare bill they inevitably misconstrue it by calling it the “job killing bill.” But they never say what jobs is it killing or even how it does kill jobs. I just wish that for once, the news interviewer would call them on this bluff and ask how that is exactly so, for I would really like to know squarely what jobs this bill will kill.

Let’s first go over the healthcare bill. In addition to many other provisions, the Affordable Care Act provides:
1) Protects sick children from being denied coverage
2) It’s now illegal for insurance companies to cancel coverage once you’ve become sick or injured
3) It also denies insurers from charging more based on pre-existing conditions
4) Prevents insurers from raising premiums with no recourse or accountability
5) Closes the donut-hole and gives free preventative care to all American seniors
6) Allows offspring to stay on family coverage until the age of 26
7) Requires insurers to spend 82.5% of premium dollars on healthcare—not CEO bonuses and if they do not, they must extend rebates
8) Prohibits the insurance industry from discriminating against pregnant women
9) Prohibits the insurance industry from denying coverage to infants born with disabilities
10) Provides tax credits for small businesses who invest in employee healthcare

In fact, the very state alone I’m living in, Pennsylvania, over two million seniors will now enjoy free preventative healthcare, while tens of thousands of senior Pennsylvanians have already received checks to aid in the costs of covering the prescription donut-holes. Over 150,000 Pa. small businesses are going to benefit from tax credits due to the installation of the healthcare bill.


Sourced from Pennsylvania Health Access Network (PHAN), I’d like to share one of too numerous letters praising the new legislation. It was written by Staci Ritter from central Pa. who has twins that both were diagnosed with leukemia when they were just four-years-old. They needed expensive treatment to stay alive, but were denied further insurance coverage, so the insurance company dropped her twins from their family insurance plan and other companies would not take them on and insure them. The family had to declare bankruptcy to afford any treatment. Once the bill was passed, the Ritter family received life saving medical aid for the children. Here are Mrs. Ritter’s words.

“The new legislation is not perfect, nor does it claim to be. But what it does is protect my children from discrimination based on their pre-existing cancer condition…Nothing is more important in the promotion of strong family values than the protection of our children.”

Our brave hearts at the Better Business Bureau, Fox News broadcasting and Republicans constant shouts of “job killing bill” needs to be reformed to “human killing repeal,” for a lot of American folk do die due to the current insurance system and strictly from unaffordable costs and under or uninsured circumstances. Over 40,000 a year die in America due to the lack of medical insurance. Even so, currently taxpayers have had to fork out around $1.2 trillion per year to healthcare while the insurance industry rakes in their very large profits and bonuses. Unsustainable medical spending is even etching into the upper range middle class as since under Bush, it has risen 80%.

Besides putting a dent in insurance companies’ high profit margins, where are the job killings coming from due directly to the bill? They can’t say, but I can and it is the opposite effect…jobs will be actually lost from repeal, not the healthcare bill. According to a paper by David Cutler, 'Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics at Harvard,' if repeal of the bill indeed occurs, 250,000 jobs would be lost on an annual basis averaging out to 200,000 manufacturing jobs and 900,000 non-health services jobs by 2016. As to why, Professor Cutler points out that it is due to the annual exponential sharp rises in medical care. Using an econometric model, he graphed a format displaying the sharp medical costs rise versus its impacts on employment. In comparing the graphing between healthcare reform and repeal, the graph came up with a 1.5 percentage cost reduction with reform as opposed to repeal. That equates into 250,000 jobs lost annually.

Also, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) director, Douglas Elmendorf said that if repeal was implemented, another 32 million Americans would become uninsured totaling over 72 million by the year 2019 and would increase the deficit by $230 billion in the period of 2012 to 2021. Since the bill’s passing this past March, the Department of Labor has announced that 1.1 million private sector jobs have been created with another 103,000 added this December. That’s not thwarting jobs; these statistics show that jobs are actually being created under healthcare reform’s umbrella of which one-fifth was in the healthcare sector alone.

Along with other reforms to medical care in the bill like payment innovations, an independent payment advisory board that will have the authority to make recommendations to reduce medical costs and improve medical quality and offered funding for comparative effectiveness research, the new healthcare bill can only be a win for all. Improving the quality of healthcare while lowering its costs, it just makes common sense in my thinking. Medical care is one-sixth of the U.S. economy. Health reform that boosts the efficiency of America’s overall economic performance as opposed to simply making the insurance sector richer makes the choice of choosing reform over repeal appear logical.

Yet, ya still have the Republican Party bound and determined to repeal and not listen to reason. Is this an ethical choice or political one; an ill-famed belief or revenge spat? Just last week, after shrugging off the CBO analysis, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) argued in presuming the non-partisan CBO report was assuming and said “I don’t think that anyone in this town believes that repealing Obamacare is going to increase the deficit.” Representative Steve King (R-Iowa), still insists in repeal in stating, “I suggest that we pull Obamacare out by the roots; root and branch, lock, stock and barrel, eradicate it completely and leave not one visage of its DNA left behind.”

Enviro Assail:
Pettiness…if any Democrat comes out with some form of qualitative reform, you can bet yore bottom dollar Republicans will fire out and rail against it no matter the topic. When Michele Obama made it her mission to fight American childhood obesity, Republicans countered in suggesting no one has the right to tell momma not to go and buy Junior his daily ration of two Mac cheeseburgers, double fries and a cyclone size chocolate shake and munch away at it while watching TV or playing video games...just embellishing here.

Much good with a torrent of passed resolute legislation came out of this past lame-duck Democratic session with a good part of it in environmental issues and true to character, Republicans are attacking these resolutions.

First off in the lame duck session, the new Strategic Arms Reduction (SAR) treaty was passed making the world safer with one-third of the nuclear arsenals in each country (U.S. & Russia) to be dismantled, while a ban on offshore drilling in the eastern half of the Gulf coast and along the Atlantic and Pacific shorelines was also enacted. Endangered species protection for wolves was extended and maintained, while the Shark Conservation Act and the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act were both passed. Lastly, the renewable energy tax credit was extended as an inclusion of a tax credit for renewable energy investments in a new federal tax bill.

Also, last December, the EPA announced they will commit for a scheduling of legal pollutant limits for new and existing coal fired power plants and other fossil fuel consuming power plants with a drafting of emission standards by July 2011 and a final ruling by May of 2012. So far, 146 coal-powered energy plants have been blocked from being built, which is an equivalency of taking 100 million cars off our roads in pollution emission terms. But of my opinion of utmost importance, is the White House’s release last month of its scientific integrity directive to prevent the interference of politics from sound scientific findings. This is huge as the Bush years witnessed an onslaught of scientific findings to be corrupted with political motive reinterpretations when it didn’t corroborate their political aims and agendas. This directive stipulates instructions to federal agencies that policy decisions will be informed by thorough scientific conclusions, scientists can confidently communicate between one another and the media on findings. As a result of this the public can better understand what an environmental political policy decision was based on.

SAR without a doubt makes the world less dangerous and allows U.S. shoes on the ground to monitor Russia’s dismantling. After the BP oil spill, how can anyone promote offshore oil drilling until a thorough review has been assessed? As far as wolves and sharks go, most people might think the elimination of another predator on land and in water would be a good thing, but these predators keep a biological balance in each perspective element that overall makes each environment healthier. Wolves and sharks cannot be taken out of the equation without disrupting the ecological balance creating situations of a chain reaction negative effect to the whole ecosystem they currently inhabit. The renewable energy tax credit for 2011 is staged to create 20,000 jobs in the windmill sector alone.

Republicans though, supported financially almost exclusively by oil and gas interests, are digging in their heels and promising legal battles and congressional political maneuvering and ploys are already underway in the House of Representatives to raise public doubt, protect major polluters profiteering and institute delays in enforcing these new environmental laws. These laws protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the ecological lands we value and the wildlife essential to healthy environments. Of course one of the major exaggerated phrases for the Republican push is that these laws are job killers and are too costly. At a time when a lot of Americans are out of work, of course the, yawn, job killing phrase is being shouted in taking advantage of the situation and as far as cost goes, yes it may take a little bit from the polluters coffers to act responsibly, but overall it saves the U.S. billions in health related diseases and much more in sparing the environment that our lives depend on. Besides, these two excuses of putting profit margins over our health are getting old. Republicans have been holding on to these two myths for as long as the EPA’s inception over 40 years ago. Since the inception of the EPA and its mandates in lowering air and water pollution, the national GDP has risen 207%. The total benefits from the Clean Air Act alone amounts to forty times more than its costs of regulation. For every dollar spent on the Act, the U.S. as a nation has received $40.00 in return.

The Republican House has declared war on the EPA. Take for instance Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tn). She and 46 other Republican colleagues have proposed House Resolution 97 that essentially insists that pollutants are not pollutants. It specifies: “The term ‘air pollutant’ shall not include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons (PFC) or hexafluoride.” I’ll give Ms. Blackburn slack on the water vapor, but as for the rest on her list, this is not only asinine its arrogant, cynical and irresponsible behavior. Just one PFC alone, hexafluoroethane, has a greenhouse warming potential (GWP) effect 9,200 times that of carbon dioxide.

In final passage here, for me, I’m usually easy-going and normally will take a lot of stuff, but when it comes to my house (Earth), back off…don’t mess with the home and family.

Constitutionally Read:
Boy-howdy, last week when birds fell from the skies, dead fish were washing ashore, a recent full lunar eclipse appeared and disappeared and Republicans insisting on Congress reading aloud the Constitution, we all still survived through these apocalyptic events. The reading of the Constitution though, didn’t turn out so well.

The first 'patriotic' days of Republican power did not glow so brightly in the reading of the Constitution on the House floor. As school children, congressmen in heeding fashion lined up to take their turn in reading aloud their segment of the Constitution. Turns out, portions of the Constitution are outdated and some Republican agendas are indeed unconstitutional.

Parts of the original Constitution convey some content we would rather forget about or simply pass off as the times of older ages. Some Democrats complained of these certain passages, but nonetheless were read. The section of the original Constitution claiming slaves as only being three-fifths human and insisting escaped slaves must be caught and returned to their appropriate masters, surely today was a hard read on the congress floor. Some sections are now redundant such as the regulation of Indian tribes and a rather lengthy foray in punishing pirates. States no longer, as constitutionally approved impose ten dollars to citizens moving out to other States.

Since the Bush and Patriot Act days of incarcerating persons indefinitely without charges, lawyers or a trial all at the approval and behest of the  Republican politician, the reading in the guaranteeing of all these Constitutional rights had to have made a few readers sweat from their brow.

A lot of the Representatives stumbled through their parts in trying to pronounce words and worded conjugations. Except for Nancy Pelosi’s reading, where I read she is about the only one who memorized her part and spoke well, the event overall was a bit detailing and boring. Boehner and his sidekick, Eric Cantor (R-Va.) who both orchestrated the Constitutional reading, both also bolted for the chamber doors after reading their part and exited the building.

Menagerie:
In the lame-duck, ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ was finally repealed. We’ve all heard argument from both sides, but allow me to end it with this; the military is a reflection of the society it fights for. 69% of Americans said it is now high-time for its repeal, and Professor Tammy Schultz of the Marine War College expressed, “Infantry doesn’t care who isn’t straight, they care who shoots straight.” For ya see, in this country as brought forth by our founding fathers, we have a self-endowed constitutional freedom of equal rights for all citizens. All have the guaranteed right of what all others have whether to serve in the military, vote or be served by the establishment. There are to be no manmade barriers to exclude, with no exception, anyone of color, race, creed, social standing or sexual orientation…there is none…for those who think otherwise, they are only echoing a bigoted patois. Culture wars do indeed affect our military ones, let each and every soldier be and allow him to do his job.

A true and tried myth is that Republicans hold the key to deficit reductions and fiscal responsibility, but history dictates otherwise. Since Hoover, Democrat presidents have held down the deficit, added to GDP growth and created employment opportunities more so than their Republican counterparts. The only reason Republicans maintain this myth is that they fool the average American into thinking so since they represent the interests of corporation and industry (the so-called job creators) over the average American. Republican stressed tax cuts for the wealthy will only benefit the very financially well-off and at the demise of the middle class because the cuts will have to be filled by raiding the Social Security treasury and will support the Republican ‘starve the beast’ strategy. This is exemplary of Gordon Brown’s catch phrase of a race to the ‘bottom in financial standards.’

After eight full years of Bush and Republican House deficits and financial errs, there is no way one should listen to their debt lectures today. Republicans caused this economic mess and unemployment woes with the macro-economic mythology of small government and smaller borne solutions. During the Bush years, Republicans refused to fix it, benefiting the upper echelon while exacerbating the consumer, who drove 70% of the Bush years economy through consumption. Now, with no real solutions they simply blame the economic woes all on the heels of Democrats. Even with Obama’s newly revised regulations that Republican’s are still railing against on behalf of the financial institution, banks are now not only healthier, they are operating stronger post the financial crisis than they were prior.

Republicans will cut federal spending, but you can bet it will be social programs as the vast majority that gets hit by their wielding ax. Programs that benefit the average American will get walloped, creating an even greater financial imbalance in the U.S. But if there are cuts to be, the Newsweek magazine editors without much sweat, found $100 billion right away that could be cut from corporate welfare. Let’s see if the Republicans dig into that drifting heap.

No matter which party is in power the majority one always brings to the fold the need to get rid of filibustering. Today, that bell is being rung by Democrats. Filibustering as its intended original goal is a good thing, for it allows the minority of Congress to be heard and have a say. This is essential in a democratic republic. But it does need some attending to, for lately it has been abused and used as an obstacle to progress. Under Obama's short presidency, Republicans have used it 259 times to simply delay legislation; that’s more times than it was used in both decades of the fifties and sixties combined. They even used it to block or delay legislation for healthcare benefits to 911 responders and extend unemployment to struggling Americans with no jobs or income and that is during the same period in insisting on extended tax cuts for the extremely rich. Yes amend filibustering to reel in its legislative delay-lure political tactics, but keep its original intention in place.

Republicans lately are attempting to come up with a new gift of the gab on an experiential slant that I guess is indicative of their scientific prowess, or lack thereof. They are now incorporating into their jargon, DNA. Along with the above previously mentioned King’s DNA quote, just before Christmas, Senator Jeffrey Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, took to the floor to warn all to beware that all of Obama’s judicial appointees have “ACLU DNA” in them. Mark McKinnon, a GOP political strategist, when discussing Sarah Palin’s new gig on Fox, stated that she has “the DNA talent.” John McCain in August just after Obama’s Iraq speech said to Fox News, “I’m not surprised he didn’t thank Bush. That’s just not in the DNA of the individual, apparently.” Mitt Romney once quipped that, “opportunity is in our DNA.” As much as Republicans bash science it’s good to know that at least they utilize it even though they won’t recognize it.

Finally, talk about the bogus death panels Republicans screamed about during the healthcare debates, what about what just happened in Arizona’s legislative voting? Arizona’s Republican governor and majority controlled Republican state congress voted in December to ax medical care for lower income organ transplant recipients. Being denied coverage by insurers or unable to find any affordable coverage, these recipients’ only course of action is to wait until death departs them. Now that is truer to being a death panel than any other manifested Obamacare case.

In Tribute:
We all heard what happened this past Saturday, where a lone gunman in Tucson killed six innocents including a nine year old child, wounding eleven and gravely injuring Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords with a shot through the head at point blank range. They are all in our thoughts and for those who pray they are in their prayers. This is a national tragedy and has caught the whole of the country off guard. We as a nation are now pausing and beginning to reflect how we interact with one another and are wandering whatever has happened to the respect once shared. This is a terrible ordeal and no words can convey the hurt survivors of the victims are going through, for it was a meaningless episode. We all though in sympathy, are wishing for the best.

Mrs. Giffords is a Democrat and after voting for the healthcare bill, was one of six Democrats that had their offices vandalized right after. Now bubbling above the surface is the question as to why this had to happen. Most likely it will wind up as solely an individual act of a very disturbed person trying to wrestle with his internal demons, but nonetheless it does raise issues that we need to look at as a nation. Though there have been no direct accusations, on a political front, both Republicans and Democrats are jockeying to defend their positions. No Democrat leader has verbally expressed blaming Republicans for their callous acts and abrasive rhetoric in the political arena for this heinous crime, though they may be thinking it, but respectfully keeping it in mind not to spew it out in words. Republicans of course are all condemning the act, but are also posturing in a defensive mode, even though they have not been blamed. We saw this with John Kyl, this Sunday on Bob Seifert’s ‘Face the Nation’ where he was stressing that we do not know the affiliations of the gunman or his political standings. News Max, a very conservative web network even came out early Saturday night stating no one needs to run to judgment as no one knows any background on the gunman, but in their very next paragraph begin pegging Jared Loughner (the gunman) as a left-wing anarchist. Just as they stated before, no one knows of Loughner...and they do not either.

Why they would contradict themselves in calling him a left-wing anarchist, again, no one knows. Perhaps conservatives have a guilty conscious and are posturing. They’ve even complained, such as the likes of Rush Limbaugh that they are being put up on the accusatory pulpit. Besides some isolated incidences of a Democrat pelting vile words toward his counterparts (though none come to mind, but I’m sure they’re out there), let’s face it, it is the Republicans that are known for the vitriol comments and issuance of misconstrued information. It is the conservative that has been awful angry lately.

Tom Delay was the first to privately and publicly express his Democratic counterparts as the enemy and Newt Gingrich continues to inflame and enforce that thought with his statements in his new book entitled, ‘Save America’ like, “The Obama administration is as much a threat to America as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.” I guess that he says this to incite and appeal to the Tea Party, but that is the whole point. Not to mention her posted cross-hairs sighted on key Democrats during the elections, Sarah Palin is like a broken record on her speech stumps with her repetitive phrase of, “Don’t retreat, reload.” Obama received more threats during his first year in office than Bush did his entire eight years. Yes, both sides have their extreme whackos that can be potentially dangerous, but in addition one side is also fully armed. When you politically mix deceit and anger, violence will ultimately erupt. All countries have their mentally disturbed, but not all countries have easy access to lethal weapons.

Whether the egregious act was a true wake-up call or just a minor disturbance from a deep sleep, we still need to assess our words. Yes words are just that…words, but they do hold weight. Political rhetoric does need to be toned down a bit with some rational thought before the word is uttered and more restraint in spewing out misinformation that subtly or incitingly goes into the ears of both the sound and unsound mind and character. Not only do words have consequence, words are of consequence.

Been nice to have had the chance in yakking with ya…


BJA
Dispatching
01/11/2011