Vogue Vigilante

Vogue Vigilante

Treading Water:
With at least forty-six tabulated repeals from the majority Republican House in their fruitless quest to defund the ACA law, with no alternative to replace it except for the phrase, “Don’t get sick,” Senator James Coburn (R-OK) has just now come up with an alternate scheme. Coburn, along with Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Richard Burr (R-NC) contend if Obamacare is repealed they have an alternative health bill that would be a vast improvement.

Dubbed the rather long winded ‘Patient Choice Affordability Responsible & Empowerment Care Act’ (CARE), the bill would function by mandating employee policy holders pay more on their premium’s cost. It would reinstate popular Obamacare regulations such as prohibiting insurance companies from issuing lifetime caps, keeping dependent coverage up to age twenty-six and theoretically folks with pre-existing conditions could not be kicked or forced out of plans.

Sounds feasible at first glance, but is it better than Obamacare and does it actually get the uninsured insured and improve America’s healthcare system overall? The answer is no…

First off this GOP plan will allow health insurance companies to charge senior citizens five times more than younger enrollees where the ACA limits it to three times more. Secondly, it would put a lid on Medicaid expansion, but has no backup plan to cover all the enrollees signing up under Medicaid, therefore axing insurance coverage for Medicaid enrollees.

They contend tax credits could cover these folks at their jobsites if their jobsites offer them insurance. In addition, the plan caps employer contributions to 65% where the employee must pay 35%. That would encourage buying the cheaper crap policies that really defrays quality healthcare and takes us right back where we were when insurers were in full control interested only in profit over care.

Thirdly, with all the millions that have enrolled under Obamacare, they would immediately be kicked off the policy plans, something that Republicans have been bogusly harping about Obamacare doing, in which we’ll discuss in just a bit.

Fourthly, Coburn claims his CARE bill will still cover pre-existing conditions. Estimates show that nearly half of all Americans have some form of pre-existing condition. CARE would only cover those folks that already have coverage and for those that don’t with pre-existing conditions are out of luck…insurers will again be able to deny them coverage.

If CARE legislation is implemented replacing the ACA law, all of Obamacare’s consumer subsidies would be repealed along with no-cost mammograms, HIV screenings, birth control and free annual checkups. Low cost mental care, maternity care and prescription drugs would be dismantled replaced with full out-of-pocket costs for the consumer. The GOP plan would also allow insurers to go back to charging females far more for insurance than males where in the era before Obamacare prohibited the practice, women were charged a billion dollars more than men on an annual national level.   

Lastly, something Republicans always whine about. If one were to pick out a plan offering more coverage under the GOPs CARE…that one’s taxes would go up according to the policies benefits. So, a better policy would not only cost more it would be taxed more. It’s very curious in a moronic ironic way how Republicans have condemned Obamacare for adding a stipend tax to the highest end insurance policy premiums known as ‘Cadillac plans,’ but yet are more than willing to tax policy plans across the board. 

Although Coburn was piqued about the ACA bill during legislation and to downplay it offered an alternative similar to CARE in 2009, it was voted down by his own Republican colleagues on the senate floor. This time around, he is only offering it up realizing Obamacare is gaining favor and is about the only option left for Republicans to attack Obama and Obamacare without the GOP looking too negative in their ongoing quest of standing for partisan legislative obstruction instead of mounting any bipartisan concrete legislation.

I hear tell today (02/01/14), the latest word on the Coburn/Hatch/Burr CARE packet is that they claim they didn’t realize it was taxes that mostly paid for it until all media reporters started hitting them up with questions about it. So for now, Coburn has pulled the plug on the bill until they can figure out a new disguised name for taxes. For the most part this is true; I embellished a bit on the tax disguise thing, but they truly have put it on hold until further notice. There is no way this bill could fly anyway funding it with tax credits that come from taxes. For sure, this CARE bill should never have been brought up…it’s nowhere near the merits of Obamacare, but at least the GOP is attempting to put on a face of caring...even took up the effort in giving it such a long name to initial it CARE… 

Ongoing Bluster:
This is not to say Republicans won’t still bash Obamacare. In his push to repeal the ACA law and replace it with CARE, Hatch on the senate floor this past January 27th stated, “Obamacare just isn’t working. Try as he might during tomorrow night’s State of the Union address, President Obama will not be able to convince the American people that his health care law is anything other than an unmitigated disaster.” Notice here it’s just typical GOP rhetoric with nothing substantial to back up the claim.

Meanwhile, the latest January 2014 Gallup polls show that 56% of uninsured workers plan to get health insurance under the government health insurance exchanges. In the red states that refuse to offer it, the ACA mandate that those that can afford the exchange rates but do not buy a policy, will not be penalized to pay the fine as it is at no fault of their own.

Another curiosity from the Gallup poll data is that 38% Republicans said they prefer to pay the fine rather than sign up for a policy on the exchange. These fringe right-wing folks that still believe Obama is Kenyan most likely are doing this out of spite rather than out of reasonable thought. Their bad…

As the theoretical physicist, Edward Teller once said, “The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to emotionally comprehend the exponential function.”

Allowing full responsibilities of the ACA implementation into the healthcare marketplace to be run by the federal government under HHS are five states. They are: Arizona, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Seven states have setup a partnership with the federal government splitting responsibilities in overseeing the ACA law. They are: Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Utah and West Virginia.     

Incorporating a state based marketplace, sixteen states have initiated their own programs under the ACA law guidelines. They are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, *Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. The District of Columbia has also setup its own marketplace through the Medicaid expansion. The Massachusetts asterisk highlights the fact that the state in 2006 has already implemented a plan that the ACA law is actually fashioned after.

The Massachusetts healthcare law has increased healthcare costs a marginal and very manageable 1%, where in the rest of the U.S., costs where healthcare was more traditional were $2.5 trillion in 2009. Under traditional healthcare, policy costs from 2002 to 2012 have risen 97%, more than three times as much as wages (33%) and even inflation (28%). This pretty much says the nation doesn’t have a debt problem, but a huge medical problem, for the bulk of the U.S. rising budget deficits is due strictly to private healthcare costs.

Since the induction of the ACA law, for whatever reason you want to lay claim to, healthcare costs instead of rising exponentially each year have actually slowed and dropped. The ACA has veritably aided in reducing the deficit, will save the national budget $200 billion in the next ten years and will save a little over $1 trillion in the second decade.

In addition to this savings end in healthcare, medical analysts are insisting insurance policies are dropping in costs. The sluggish economy may be the prime factor, but the ACA laws in controlling costs have most certainly been an asset to this goal even as the economy improves. Falling hospital re-admittances are already taking effect which is due to Obamacare’s insurer nudging to issue quality of care policies rather than concentrating on quantity.   

Due to SCOTUSs decision to allow states the flexibility to opt out of receiving Medicaid expansion, twenty-two states have refused Obamacare. They are: Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, *Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Virginia has an asterisk beside it, for the state has just elected a Democrat governor and Democrat majority state legislature. Hopefully they will upend the Republican’s past obstructions and implement the ACA program. 

In these red states that have opted out of the ACA, there are literally millions of the working poor that are trapped in between. As current law stands, you have to be virtually penniless in income before you can receive Medicaid. So, a person making the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour which equates to $10,933.00 per year if it is a forty hour work week, it’s too much for Medicaid enrollment, but by far too little to buy any health insurance policy. In the ACA law’s Medicaid exchanges that were changed, red state governors claim their decisions are financial in stating the law will cost them as their share increases to 10% of cost in 2020, but that’s hogwash in a burn barrel. According to Rand Corporation research, each state that has opted out is actually going to lose $8.4 billion in rebuffing the law.

A for instance here is Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida. For his part in opting out of the ACA is that it would cost the state $1.9 billion a year. Hardly! Hed broadcast this three times on national TV at CNBC, CNN and Fox News. I cannot go into detail about his reasoning for there simply is no data to back up his false claim. It’s as if he plucked it out of thin air relying on oversimplified assumptions while totally ignoring how Medicaid is to be expanded. Even his own, ‘Agency for Health Care Administration’ disputes him. The agency claims the actual amount is more like $500 million and would not kick in until 2020. Politifact rated him a 100% liar on their ‘truth-o-meter.’

Obamacare had set aside billions for states to expand their Medicaid. The red states that opted out will not receive it therefore; these millions of working poor citizens within these respective red states will still go uninsured. Is that the direct fault of Obamacare? No it is not…not even indirectly…it is solely the responsibility of these Republican state controlled governments that are refusing the ACA simply out of their spite of all things President Obama and nothing else.

Nonetheless, Republicans still use the argument against Obamacare in that it will not solve and cover these millions of uninsured, when in fact it is their fellow Republicans own doing in ensuring that it won’t.

So has Obama truly lied when he said those that are insured can keep their current policy plans and their doctors if they so desire? No, he has not; maybe spoke out of place, but he assuredly did not intentionally lie as all the conservative pundits keep trying to stress. He just did not take into consideration that insurers still maintain a key to healthcare’s lock.

The ones directly responsible for this are the insurance companies, for they are the ones dropping the existing plans, not Obamacare, although maybe indirectly due in a justification sort of way.

Perhaps some policies dropped by insurers were to be replaced with more affordable and beneficial coverage under an ACA plan. Most of these so-called millions as claimed by the right that have been dropped can and should get on the exchange where offered and be thankful there are more reasonable plans in price and benefits that weren’t offered in their former plan. Virtually every one that conservatives have dragged along and advertised around that their coverage was dropped due to Obamacare, it has been proven time and time again that that specific individual could indeed get a cheaper and better quality policy on the ACA and state markets exchanges. For the ones that have been dropped in those red states, well, blame should be directed to their state officials, not Obamacare.

Now for those that insist they want to hang onto their cheap policy that offers virtually no extended benefits such as hospital care, only out-patient surgeries, and has exorbitant out-of-pocket-costs with high outrageous deductibles; then maybe I see where there needs to be a government entity of some sort to guide individuals along in their quests for affordable quality healthcare for themselves and their families.

Even with the startup problems, currently with just three months in, 3.9 million folks have signed up for Obamacare and though the full tallies are not in yet, including the state run exchanges, the more accurate count looks as if it now exceeds 9 million.

In only using the federal exchange enrollment counts and using the conservative ‘Daily Caller’s figure of 4.7 million folks having their plans cancelled, Speaker of the House, Republican John Boehner tweeted, “It’s official, Obamacare debuts with more cancellations than enrollments.”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) proclaimed in a 12/19/2013 press release, “The Administration is recognizing the grim reality that more Americans have lost health insurance than gained it under Obamacare.” Regardless of these sour notes let’s seek…

Ya see, now the thing here, is that the ‘Daily Caller’ legitimately got there 4.7 million cancellation number from the ‘AP’ which can verify it, but what all is totally being ignored here is that out of the 4.7 million cancellations, it assuredly doesn’t mean there are an extra 4.7 million more Americans uninsured.

Most of these cancellations (approximately half according to the health insurers) had automatic enrollments attached to new coverage, which from the dictates of the new ACA law, the new policies have to meet or exceed former policy coverage. The White House even ordered an ‘administrative fix’ that allowed 2.3 million folks who wanted to remain on their old plans to be able to do so until 2015. This 4.7 million cancellations usurp also ignores the Kaiser Family data that over half of these individuals are moving to the exchanges or Medicaid. Finally, data from the ‘House Energy and Commerce Committee’ minority staff concluded only ten thousand folks from various eighteen counties will go without signing up for insurance due only to personal decisions.

With the added luxury of insurers cannot deny anyone with pre-existing conditions, insurers by law now cannot drop insurance coverage if the policy holder gets sick, but is still keeping payments current and that children may be enrolled on their parents plan up to the age of twenty-six, Obamacare’s main objective is to reach the 17% working American population that is uninsured. Allowing them access to affordable quality care to see a doctor for the first time, would alleviate the nation’s ER (emergency room) visits and give a break to the national GDP as healthcare currently eats up anywhere from 17-21% of GDP. When the uninsured goes to the ER for any sickness or accident, the taxpayer has to pay for it.

Something had to be done to America’s healthcare system. Obamacare surely isn’t the final answer, but it is the beginning to gravitate more towards a single payer option. A single payer option would never get off to a start in the U.S. now, for the psyche of Americans overall is that healthcare is more a business rather than an ethical issue.

Please don’t buy into that rancid baloney that America has the best healthcare system in the world. Maybe, for those that have been able to afford it, but for the rest it is only a pipe dream and the leading cause of personal middleclass bankruptcies.

In the ‘World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2013 publication, the U.S. ranks thirty-seventh in overall healthcare. All those so-called “socialist European countries” and Canada that have free healthcare stomp the U.S. in the ground when it comes to health rankings. Of all the industrialized nations, America ranks 35th in life expectancy, far behind free healthcare nations such as Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Sweden that are all in single digit rankings. Japan is number one. The U.S. even trails Cuba that is a percent margin or two better off.

I don’t find it strange, not even curious, but the states that drive the nation in low world life expectancy rankings are all red. The ten states with highest mortality ratings in ascending order from worse to least are: Mississippi as number one, then 2. Alabama, 3. West Virginia, 4. Oklahoma, 5. Kentucky, 6. Louisiana, 7. Arkansas, 8. Tennessee, 9. South Carolina and 10. Georgia.

Except for Kentucky, which has incorporated its own Kynect plan, these Republican majority states should take the clue up from cigarette packages and put some form of labeling on their perspective states’ welcome signs along the roadways stating, ‘Caution, living here may be hazardous to your health.’

But infant mortality is the underlying theme that hits me hardest. Among 194 countries, the U.S. is ranked 40th in infant mortality. To make matters worse, the fourteenth annual meeting of the ‘State of the World’s Mother’ report revealed that America is ranked at 30, well below all other industrialized nations. But if ya want to have bragging rights, the U.S. beat out nations like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Somalia. The main reason in America…lack of access to prenatal care by poor mothers.    

Overall, the U.S. has a 53% disparity rating in healthcare. Health inequality in America has been epidemic and due to that inequities abound.    

America’s right is pushing this nation into a constant flux of violence and unethical sub-standards. Right-wingers will fight tooth ‘n’ nail to protect the right to own assault weaponry; even despite there have been eleven school shooting incidents alone since the Sandy Hook Elementary child massacre. But lo and behold, in the right’s thinking, healthcare is a sovereign privilege, not a right and will fight nail ‘n’ tooth to keep it that way. But oh how wrong it is in the GOPs ideologue that this thinking saves money.

The study titled, ‘The Business Case for Racial Equity’ put out by the ‘W. K. Kellogg Foundation’ and scholars from Brandeis, Harvard and John Hopkins universities concluded that America’s bias has cost the nation $1.9 trillion each year within the past decade. Want to stop payment on that annual billing…then let’s get serious with how our healthcare is administered, for lack of access to decent healthcare for ethnic groups and the poor is the main primer in this self-inflicted and unnecessary cost to the nation.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has sued the Obama administration to block his own healthcare under the ACA law. In argument for this he likes to go around telling a story of how when healthcare was freer, (no explanation on what he means by freer) his daughter had life-saving heart surgery that saved her life. Under Obamacare, he claims that surgery could not be possible now due to all the regulations and in attempts to repeal Obamacare, he is fighting for that freedom for all Americans to have life-saving surgery as just his daughter had. He asserts that is why he got into politics, to fight Obamacare where everyone can have and cherish that medical freedom in the American way.

One of Johnson’s quotes on this favored story of his states, “I would not have run for the U.S. Senate had Obamacare not been passed. Our story has a happy ending because we had that freedom. That’s what this health care law is all about; it’s an assault on our freedom. It’s going to lower the quality of our care. It’s going to lead to rationing. The types of medical innovation that saved my daughter’s life [and] that saves millions of Americans…I won’t say it’s going to come to a grinding halt, but it’s going to be severely limited.”

Very poignant huh…unfortunately for him though, neither his fake eloquence nor irony meets rightful argument. Totally baffled by what he means in freer medical care, I wonder if blind rhetoric is his main driving force trumping rational reason. We will still pay for healthcare as the entrenched capitalistic way goes here in America, but under Obamacare, it will at last be freer and without government intervention as he seems to allude to. The real irony to his story though, is that the surgeon, Dr. John Foker who performed the senator’s daughter’s heart surgery disagrees quite adamantly with Johnson.

In a January 2014 interview with ‘Uppity Wisconsin’ the good doctor is in general agreement with Obamacare, with the only fault Foker sees in it is that it did not go far enough in providing healthcare for all. He further elaborates that the surgery he performed on the senator’s daughter, he learned from surgeons who pioneered it in Brazil and France, which both have socialized healthcare.  

Regardless of Johnson’s stance, the ‘Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index’ findings show there is a positive trend forming due to Obamacare. The index found that for this January, the uninsured rate for adults dropped from 17.3% to 16.1%; that’s a 1.2 percentage point equaling out to 2.5 million people gaining health coverage. That may not seem so drastic a drop, but considering its trend has been steadily going upwards for years on end, it is welcome news to this nation. For the unemployed, the drop was even more significant falling 6.7 percentage points. That has halted a steady increase evident for decades.

America’s healthcare system is one of the most inefficient in the world spending more than twice per person as other western nations, but even in costing more, still with the lowest life expectancies. The ‘Center for Economic and Policy Research’ (CEPR) has put out a health care budget deficit calculator. In it, it gives a comparison of data put out by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) between the U.S. having the ACA law and not. Without going into all the detailed specifics as to why, by the year 2085, Obamacare as it stands with no anticipated changes to it, the U.S. national deficit from healthcare will be 74% of GDP; without the ACA law, in 2085 it would be 180% of GDP. Kind of staggering differences, huh…

Why not we come together as a nation and help this ACA positive trending along…

The latest 2013 U.S. Census data shows Texas is ranked 50th as dead last in the states with the most uninsured. That equates to roughly 29% of the Lonestar’s population, yet Governor Perry, due strictly to partisan politics, absolutely refuses to do something about those dire statistics. Texas has witnessed no progress in reducing its uninsured, nor any for the amount of folks in poverty with 17.2% living as poor. That poverty level equilibrates to less than $18,500 per year for a family of three. There is simply no justification or excuse to be found in these numbers.

Ya know, there’s an old West Texas saying that if to proceed to tomorrow, first prepare for today. I would think that would be sound advice for ol’ Perry.     

Mud Face:
Since Americans in general have woken up to the fact that during Obama’s time in office, Republican politicians have placed party loyalty and authority over the nation’s sovereignty and well-being, the GOP is now beginning to crawl out of their self-induced bubble world themselves a bit. Of course, being an election year has also rattled them from their stupor.

Regardless of what they say, Republicans do read polls and the latest CNN January 20-23, 2014 survey asking the public “which party is more concerned about people like you” the tally was Republicans 37%, Democrats 46%. Yes with results like this, Republicans are awkwardly shifting faces.   

Even though Republicans have damage control to contend with in the legitimate scandals by Governor Chris Christy of New Jersey in his bully Bridgegate affair, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's John Doe’ investigation and former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s indictment on federal corruption charges, they’ll still rage on about the phony Benghazi and IRS scandals, but now at least, to a lesser degree.

Immigration seems to have recaptured Republican minds. Speaker of the House John Boehner brought the subject up at the Republican’s retreat last week in Maryland and it appears that, at least some House Republicans anyway are now willing to take immigration reform off the back seats where it has quietly gathered dust since the senate passed their immigration bill last summer and put it front and center onto the House floor.

For Boehner though, immigration reform most likely will be the final nail sealing his coffin whether it is his legacy or Republican downfall. Heck, for that matter, if Boehner has any ounce of integrity, it might even be intentional.

Boehner knows that America is a nation of immigrants and he knows for sure, the current growing Latino immigrants look unfavorably on Republicans due to the anti-immigrant stands. He also knows that his party does not like immigration reform out of fear in legalizing new citizens that will gladly vote for the party that has fought for their rights; namely Democrats and liberal Independents.

Republicans are masterful in attacking policy, but are inept in making policy these past six years. Perhaps with immigration that might change.

As far as Obama’s State of the Union speech went, it was uplifting. What I got out of it was although life can be trying, it is well worth it. He showered us with a laundry list pressed into a neatly seamed theme and that was equality…equal rights for gender preference, minorities, women, veterans, American workers and wealth. He wove it admirably with immigration, minimum wage increases, job opportunities, a woman’s new role and the military’s battle maimed standing up for all these American rights.

Still entrenched in saying no to anything Obama and constantly portraying him as a failure, not one Republican commented positively on the president’s speech. Political pundit rumors had it that Obama was going to bash the GOP with demands and executive order threats with his pen and phone. And although, he said he would exercise his executive order rights actually performing one in increasing government contractor workers’ wages to $10.10/Hr., he never bashed Republicans. He stoked them to perform their jobs through practical nudging, but never negatively thumped them.

The only common theme that Republicans could muster up and go for in criticizing Obama’s clarified speech was his executive order declarations. Boehner insisted after the State of the Union speech that Obama had better not exercise any unilateral steps suggesting it would encroach upon the Constitution. Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-KA) advocated on one of his dozen or so State of the Union tweets that Obama is monarchal in saying, “First release of Obama speech reads like dictates from a king. All orders he will do to bypass congress.” Senator Teddy Cruz (R-TX) asininely said after the speech, instead of a pen, Obama should use an eraser, where prior to the speech Cruz said the president should apologize to the country.

Point is, executive orders are constitutional and presidents all the way down through Washington used them. The ‘Emancipation Proclamation’ was an executive order carried out by Lincoln. The first national park of the world in Yellowstone was an executive order performed by Theodore Roosevelt. Both Democrats and Republicans have used them. Reagan issued 381 executive orders, Clinton 364 and George W. Bush 261. As of 02/02/2014 Obama has issued 168, with the latest aforementioned minimum wage increase last week.

The biggest difference between Obama and other presidents…there have been rebellious congresses of past, but nothing compared to what Obama has had to endure. Some members of the GOP congress still will not even shake the man’s hand.    

With their swift rejection of the president’s mention of executive order, congressional Republicans said he will accomplish very little except for dividing the government. Again Boehner elaborated on the speech, “The real answer is for Obama to refocus his priorities and work with us on the things that we can achieve together to create jobs and promote greater opportunity.” Practice what ya preach Mr. Boehner.

As if the GOP haven’t been dividing the government and the nation ever since Obama’s first inauguration, they must too not have working ears, for Obama indeed stated far more is accomplished in bipartisanship governance than he acting on it alone.

Having an unstable history of actions ignoring women rights, (I mean Representative Bob Goodlatte R-VA as chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary just stated 01/15/2014 the GOP “should support restricting women’s healthcare because it promotes job creation.”), picking a congressional female to do the follow-up speech after Obama’s State of the Union, I can see why Republicans would do so. The GOP so desperately wants to prove in word only they are not against women per say, but Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)?

Besides her very boring response full of typical anti-Obama Republican rhetoric with virtually no explanation of substance, she has quite a lurid history of lying. What’s worse she will in a heartbeat repeat her lies and claim anyone as a liar who calls out her lies.

As she did in her little trump speech, she likes to portray herself as the All-American girl. She pretends that she grew up in Kettle Falls, Washington on an orchard farm. The real facts are that her family moved from Oregon to British Columbia, Canada when she was a toddler and that is where she grew up until she was seventeen. At that age her family then moved to Kettle Falls where she left the very next year for Florida to attend the very fundamentalist Pensacola Christian, at that time an unaccredited college. Rules were very strict there, almost Sharia law-like where there was no dating, only preapproved music could be listened to, anyone under 23 could not be in gender mixed crowds, no cell phones or internet access was allowed, just a brainwashing taking away all the Bill of Rights offered to Americans. There was a demerit system that was backed by threats and punishment.

She claimed being raised on the orchard in Washington picking fruit, 4H efforts and working at McDonalds paid her way through college. False; staying only one growing season would maybe have been enough to pay her flight to Florida, but not the years of studying. In 4H and FFA clubs, proceeds of the sales of auctioned animals are split between participants and the clubs along with paying for the functions. Her cut would hardly have been enough for her tuition. McDonalds minimum wages may have helped on her living expenses, but certainly not for her schooling. Her parents could not afford it. So it is a mystery how she paid her way through six years of college as she went for an MBA.    

With Republicans constantly harping on Obama mythical deficiencies and with their flock blindly following their lead, I like to call it the ‘Bad Shepherd Syndrome’ where the ignorant shepherd leads his ill-fated flock straight into the wolf’s den. No need for the wolves to go on the prowl in a laborious hunt, the shepherd brought his flock of sheep on silver platters serving the wolves’ dinner.

Obama throughout all this Republican dramatized obstruction has had accomplishments. When the country was in its deepest recession ever experienced and on the brink of tumbling into a depression, his policies pulled the U.S. from the brink. We’re out of Iraq and soon to be this year out of Afghanistan. Restructuring the auto bailout under enormous pressure from the right, the nation is now building, selling and buying more U.S. cars since seven years ago.

LGBT gay rights have vastly improved under this president no matter if the right feels that is an asset or not. Funny that, Republicans ripped into and chastised a comedian, Dean Obeidallah and his MSNBC host, Melissa Harris-Perry for poking a little fun at Romney in a family member adopting a black toddler. Indeed it is a noble act in not seeing color, just a little fellow human being, but I do wonder how these same Republicans can go ballistic over this Romney family episode, while at the same moment be the first to insist it be illegal for a gay couple to adopt.

Obama also turned around the country’s hemorrhaging of 750, 000 jobs a month to hiring more in the private sector his first eighteen months in office than W. Bush did his entire eight years in office. He not only turned around a ballooning national debt and deficit, he slowed them, halted them and started them trending downwards. More and more of the uninsured ranks are dropping and he has managed to do all this swimming in a vast sea of Republican obstruction that would rather shut down government than watch Obama succeed.

Being on the same page is one thing, turning that page together is altogether a different thing. We’ll yak again later…

On a closing note, my ten-year-old daughter, Claire watched the State of the Union address with me. After a while she noted, “That guy to the left of Obama is red just like the devil…is he the Republican?” “Yes m’dear he is indeed,” I answered chuckling, “yes he truly is”…   

In Seeking Substance,

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