Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is Our Congress Corrupt? 4

The Republicans coined the term hoping it would stick as a pejorative label, but President Obama turned it on it's head by declaring, "I don't mind it when Republicans call it Obamacare, because I do care!"
During the two years that The Affordable Health Care Act has been in affect 54 million Americans are now receiving preventive health care services, 2.5 million young people can stay on their parents insurance until age 26, 5.1 million seniors have saved a cumulative 3.2 billion dollars on prescription drugs, 50,000 people with pre-existing conditions now have medical coverage, 20.4 million women now can get mammograms and other care with no cost sharing, further it eliminated co-pays on preventive services such as child immunizations and cancer screenings and eliminated annual and lifetime claim caps for more than 80 million policyholders.
When its broadest provisions are triggered in 2014, millions more Americans will be relieved of the threat that their insurer can dump them or jack up their premium to unaffordable heights just because they've fallen ill or been injured.
Yet you have republican morons like this lying, lying, lying. They distort a little too:
How do you know a republican is lying? Their lips are moving.
That's not just an adage, that's a statement of fact.
It's true that the democrats suck at public relations, which amazes me. Only 39% of respondents to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released this month thought they knew how the law would affect them personally. The country is pretty much evenly divided with those for and against the law as a whole, probably in large part because the republican noise machine, Fox News, Limbaugh, and republican politicians constantly lie about it, however when the individual components of the law are explained to the public it is met with overwhelming approval. The democrats have done a horrible job of getting out in front of the republican propaganda and explaining, and defining this law to the American public, including the president, and shame on them for that, because it's not that freaking hard! Hire Don Draper or something for God's sake, but keep your message alive, and don't let the republicans define anything.
Speaking of the republicans, as distasteful as it may be, they keep on chanting this "repeal and replace" mantra concerning the health care act, yet they haven't exactly explained what they would replace it with, but they're very heavy on the repeal part. You know why? They don't want to replace it with anything. They want our health care system to return to what it was before The Affordable Health Care Act went into place, keep American health care the most expensive of all the industrial nations, and derail all of the advances cited above, because that's what their health care industry masters and the insurance companies want. And the republicans are the political arm of big business, and that's who they look out after, not the American people.
Are the republicans in Congress corrupt? You bet your sweet ass they are. Defiantly and unashamedly so.
To be perfectly fair, which I always strive to be, the republicans can't help themselves simply because they're sociopaths and don't know any better. Another statement of fact.
Oh democrats are corrupt too, just less obvious about it.
Another example of corruption, again by republicans, and I equate corruption as passing legislation on behalf of lobbyists who work for specific industries who pay off members of Congress through campaign contributions, or as I like to call it... legal bribery (everyone says lobbying is protected by the First Amendment as a matter of free speech. I say that's fine. My freedom of speech is protected as well until I use it to attempt to bribe a policeman let's say, then I'm guilty of a crime. I believe the same should hold true for lobbyists).
H.R.5, or The Protecting Access to Healthcare (PATH) Act, of course does nothing to protect access to health care. This bill was introduced by republicans so the title must mean the exact opposite of what the bill is actually intended to do, which is a tort reform bill, which would shield nursing homes, hospitals, insurance companies, physicians, and pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers from legal consequence of their negligence, making it harder for patients to sue for compensation when providers are negligent. The bill also drastically shortens the time a patient has to file a lawsuit for their injuries and limiting fees for patients’ attorneys while providing no limits on the health industry’s legal fees. Republicans claim these restrictions are needed to cut costs and create jobs. BS. Costs need to go up if providers are negligent, and there is no evidence that this would create one freaking job. This is just a sop to the health care industry.
Why do you think the republicans always claim that climate change is a fraud, a vast left wing conspiracy designed to... I don't know what it's supposedly designed to do as it doesn't make any sense. All the time they say that despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.
Why? Because the Koch brothers, big oil, fossil fuel providers, the auto industry need them to do that so they can keep raking in massive profits, that's why. It is the absolute height of irresponsibility... to sacrifice the health of our planet, the health and well being of literally billions of people, including the children of republican lawmakers, in the constant pursuit of profit. Money.
Truly unbelievable, and another proof of the sociopathology rampant in the republican party.
Apparently it is legal for members of Congress to profit from what is known as insider trading, profiting in the financial markets based on information the public does not have, but members of Congress do have due to their positions as legislators. This must make Martha Stewart scratch her head. It makes me scratch mine. I'm scratching it right now!
The senate passed the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or Stock Act, last Thursday, which the House of course had already passed, and it passed overwhelmingly, 96 to 3 (the House approved it 417 to 2 last month). The bill prohibits members of Congress from trading stocks and other securities on the basis of confidential information they receive as lawmakers. The bill affects White House staff as well (it also decreases the time lawmakers have to report stock and securities transactions from once a year to 45 days).
Sounds good, huh? It is good, but it only came about after the news program "60 Minutes," did a report on the goodly amount of insider trading going on in the halls of Congress. If that hadn't of happened you can be sure it would still be going on. And still, the House republicans watered down the bill (which the senate signed off on) allowing what is called the “political intelligence” industry to thrive, where it's somehow okay to provide financial legislative information to hedge funds, mutual funds and other investors. How can this possibly be legal? The second provision dropped from the bill would have given prosecutors powerful new tools to pursue public corruption cases.
So one step forward, two steps back.
The bill is awaiting the presidents signature. I don't know what the hell he's waiting for, but it's ready for him to sign.
So what's the answer with all of this obvious corruption in Congress, which is caused by private money overwhelming our government, which is the largest problem our country faces as far as I'm concerned, and which I've discussed before, many times.
Well, the answer is obviously to get money out of Congress.
The Fair Elections Now Act (S. 750 and H.R. 1404) was re-introduced in 2011 in the Senate by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and in the House of Representatives by Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.), Walter Jones, Jr. (R-N.C.), and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine). The bill would allow federal candidates to choose to run for office without relying on large contributions, big money bundlers, or donations from lobbyists, and would be freed from the constant fundraising in order to focus on what people in their communities want. It was introduced almost exactly a year ago, on April 5th, 2011. And that's it. It was re-introduced and nothing else has been done. Nothing else probably will be done because members of Congress are addicted to cash, that's why they break into houses and car jack so much. Oh, I'm sorry, that was the heroin and meth addicts.
It's hard to distinguish between the two.
But this is what eventually must be the answer. Private funds must get out of politics (and by extention, corporate control) in order for our government to do what it was designed to do by the founding fathers. The American public must provide the pressure, as they did with the STOCK Act, because you know, sure as hell, Congress won't do it until it is forced to.
Again, Americans need to wake up and force their politicians to do the right thing.
Then maybe we can get something done in this country... like save from itself.

Corruption? Pretty much. Here's a link to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's (CREWs) latest report on members of the House doling out cash and favor to their own families:

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