Wednesday, February 2, 2011


"What I'm not willing to do -- what I'm not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a preexisting condition. (Applause). I'm not willing to tell James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered. I'm not willing to tell Jim Houser, a small business man from Oregon, that he has to go back to paying $5,000 more to cover his employees. As we speak, this law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their patients' -- parents' coverage. (Applause). So I say to this chamber tonight, instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let's fix what needs fixing and let's move forward. (Applause)." -President Obama at the State of the Union address 1-25-11

What the president is talking about is his recently passed health care legislation, which was the first target of the newly elected House Republicans even though they knew there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell it would be repealed with Obama still in office. Now the Senate has gotten into the act with all but three Republican Senators signing onto a bill introduced by Tea Bagger puppet Jim DeMint (R-SC), that would repeal last March's law. The Republicans seem to be stuck on stupid, as even if DeMint got all of his Republican friends in the Senate to vote for the bill, and ten Democrats, he would still not have enough votes to break a filibuster. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid does not have to introduce the measure to begin with. And again, even if it were to make it to the President's desk for signing into law, Obama would simply veto it.
So what is DeMint doing? He knows what the chances are of his bill passing as well as anybody. What he's doing is pandering to the Tea Baggers, fulfilling the Republicans empty campaign promises to said Tea Baggers that gave them the House, to "repeal and replace" the health care law.
There's also the matter that the majority of people in the United States don't want it repealed. A January 20th CBS News poll found that 48 percent want to keep it, with 40 percent wanting it repealed or changed. For a political party that always harps about doing the will of the people, they seem to be ignoring them in this instance due to political convenience. Why? Because the Republicans don't really care about what the majority of Americans want. They never have. They care about what Republicans want, and 73 percent of Republicans favor repeal. Why? Because the Republicans are the stooges (my apologies to Larry, Moe and Curly) of big business, in this instance the health insurance industry, and want to go back to the days when health insurers could rape and pillage the American populace at will.
In addition, just 18 percent of Americans say that health care is their major concern, or that Congress should be focused on it now. Guess what the American people want Congress to be focused on? Yep, dear readers, you've got and the economy. 43 percent to be exact according to the CBS poll. They've been in office 31 days as of today, and haven't as yet even brought up the subject of jobs and the economy. Why? Because it's much easier, politically to keep wasting the people's time fooling around with issues like health care and abortion that they deem safe concerns for them to deal with. Cutting spending and reducing the deficit? That would mean making some hard choices that are bound to alienate some percentage of the voters, and they certainly don't want to do that.
Because that doesn't help them get done what they really want to get done, and that is to make sure Barack Obama does not get a second term in office. That's their main objective and anything else doesn't matter. Don't take my word for it. Ask Senate Minority Leader Mitch "Turtle Man" McConnell. He flat out admits that's their main goal and objective.
To that end the Republican fight to end a long overdue overhaul of the national heath care system by filing federal lawsuits in those states where the governor or attorney general are Republicans, mainly by rejecting the insurance requirement known as the individual mandate, which requires Americans to obtain commercial insurance, and does not take effect until 2014. Monday Judge Roger Vinson of Federal District Court in Pensacola, Fl., ruled that that aspect of the law was unconstitutional, and further, that since the insurance requirement was so essential to the workings of the Affordable Care Act that its unconstitutionality required that the entire Obama health care law be invalidated. The Obama Administration will appeal this decision, and the law will stay in effect until then. Last December another judge invalidated just the individual mandate provision, which is also under appeal. Two other judges have ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act is just fine. Guess what. The two judges who ruled against the health care overhaul were appointed by Republican Presidents. The two that didn't were appointed by Bill Clinton. Go figure.
Okay, next the President went on about the deficit.
"So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. (Applause). Now, this would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was President."
Yeah, we've discussed this before. How are we going to pay for all of that innovation, education, and infrastructure while freezing domestic spending?
He calls on cuts for community action programs (local private and public non-profit organizations that carry out the Community Action Program (CAP), which was founded by the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act to fight poverty by empowering the poor in the United States and its territories, as part of the War on Poverty introduced by President Lyndon Johnson) and defense "The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without. (Applause)."
Hell, Obama and DS Gates can't even stop Congress from providing $485 million to begin development of a second engine source for the f-35 fighter, which the Pentagon doesn't even want!
"...and I'm willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let's make sure that we're not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. (Applause)."
How does unempowering the poor of the United States and stopping federal programs to fight poverty, not to mention the President's "Open Door," initiative to end homelessness for veterans, women and children within the next ten years, not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens?
"Still, I'm willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year -- medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits. (Applause)."
If frivolous lawsuits were really a problem I'd be against them as well. But they aren't. Claiming they are is just another way for the Republicans, and now the President it seems, to disenfranchise middle and lower class citizens from being able to sue those doctors and insurance companies that have harmed them. They would take away citizens 7th Amendment rights to a civil trial by jury, by limiting so-called "frivolous lawsuits."
98,000 Americans die of preventable medical errors each year. The Republicans would take away your right to redress. These types of legitimate legal court actions account for less than 1% of the total health care budget and are totally justified. By placing limits on these lawsuits the Republicans are only trying to protect the insurance companies from having to pay for the harm that they caused those that they insure. This is a prime example of trying to lower costs "on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens."
Here's some good things. President Obama wants to make Social Security stronger.
"To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. (Applause). We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans' guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market. (Applause)."
This is a good thing. Social Security does need to be strengthened. And we had been a little worried about Barack coming to the same conclusion. He has been receiving a lot of advice to cut SS benefits, or raise the age Americans would be eligible to receive SS benefits, even though Social Security does not add one penny to the national deficit.
Let me say that again for our Republican friends who can't seem to grasp this concept in their poor little heads: Social Security does not add one penny to the national deficit.
You see it is paid for through payroll taxes. Completely.
Also, the President, a month after allowing the continuation of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, says they can't afford for them to become permanent.
"And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply can't afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. (Applause). Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break. It's not a matter of punishing their success. It's about promoting America's success. (Applause... except from the Republicans)."
I of course would say that we can't afford a two year extension of them either, but that's history. I'm looking forward to seeing how Obama will handle the next expiration of the tax cuts for the wealthy in two years, an election year. Is it some how going to be easier to let them expire then? I don't think so, but...
We shall see.

This needs to be continued one more time.

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