Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Just Kill It....

After what seems like an eternity of political debate, fear tactics, and appeasement...the healthcare reform debate seems to be at a standstill....Republicans are united in their opposition of this reform and now Democrats have splintered into factions each wanting their own piece of this massively expensive overhaul of our healthcare system...and we are left with what remains after all the townhall meetings, tea parties, and political compromise...a rotting corpse that serves no one by the health insurance industries and the politicans who act in their favor..

So what has been lost in this great debate?
-Public Option dropped
-Medicare buy-in dropped
-individual mandated ADDED

So what reform is left if any at all? Insurance companies won't be able to drop you for having a pre-existing condition or when you get sick but without any choice except private health insurance there isn't any real help for those who can't afford insurance and now they will HAVE to buy private insurance or pay a fine...this a big Christmas present for the health insurance companies and their Senators..and yet this is still called "Reform"....

This lack of true reform has even driven some of its strongest supporters to do the unthinkable..kill the bill. These include former Vermont Gov. and Presidential hopeful Howard Dean and MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann (who just gave a passionate call for the President to kill this bill on his show tonite)..and instead of blaming Republicans or Lieberman for stalling and the gutting of this bill, the White House and Dem. Senate leadership has targeted Mr. Dean saying he has gone too far in his call for this bill to be killed and Democrats to get what reform they can through Reconciliation (a process of passing measures by a simple majority with would allow some reform but not all). Why would they do this? It's not because Mr. Dean isn't wrong about his opinion, it's because he's RIGHT and they fear that his vocal call for the death of this 'reform' bill will be a catalyst for the liberal left to challenge the Senates Democratic leaders. But they are too late because from political polls and by listening to the Liberal media (such as MSNBC) it is clear Liberals are angry and are seemingly willing to make the Senates Democratic leaders pay for it next election cycle and they aren't afraid to say so..Keith Olbermann, who admits he is a Liberal, at least has the guts to stand up for his political views and not throw them under the bus just to get something passed no matter how terrible as Mr. Reid and his allies have done...
Because this bill as it stands doesn't really need to be's already dead and just needs buried and there is only one person who can do the digging...Mr. Obama. Olbermann went as far as saying that should this bill pass with its Individual Mandate (whose constitutionality is shaky) he will get rid of his private insurance and therefore be breaking the law and dares the government to do something about it because such a mandate (which Obama denounced during his Presidential campaign) is the final insult to all those who hoped for real reform...

And what has our President said about the politically COMPROMISED bill as of late? He has told Democrats that they have to pass something by the end of the year or else...well he didn't really say but you get his this Mr. Olbermann called of Mr. Obama to veto any bill that retains that Individual mandate but I fear he won't because he seems to believe that any reform is better than none but he is wrong...this whole healthcare reform movement was botched from the start and should just be ended so Mr. Obama can focus on the economy which is more important right now (not to mention if he does that people will like him more and his chances for reelection would be much greater)...

I am a stronge believer in healthcare reform because I have seen the facts and figures and it's disgusting to think we are the only industrialized nation with no universal healthcare system but with our economy as weak as it is and with the Federal decifit growing incredibly fast, this reform could/should wait for another day..So please Mr. President, veto this bill and focus on what really matters to the American people right now..

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mr. Lieberman...your pants are on fire!

After a bit of research tonite...I've discovered the Joe Lieberman is either the biggest liar in recent political history is one of the greatest Flip/Flopper in recent history (or both)...

In the current political armwrestling over healthcare reform there has been a general "broad" agreement in dropping the so called public option in favor of a expansion of Medicare from those 55-65, meaning they could "buy-in" and therefore allow tens of million of uninsured to get much need healthcare insurance. Many were hopeful that such a mechanism would even attract Mr. Disagreeable Lieberman to support it. Why would they think that? Well...because Joe has advocated such an expansion for nearly a decade, from his run at VP in 2000 to just 3 months I found it rather surprising (not really but humor me) the Joe Lieberman not only says he won't support such a compromise, he'll help block its passage altogether!

Don't believe me? Read it for yourself:

So what changed in 3 months Mr. Lieberman? Did the Health insurance companies who bankroll your political campaigns pull your lease too hard?....or did you look in the mirror and discover that you were acting like a..dare I say...a principled Senator??? Can't have that now can we Mr. Lieberman? Of course not, because as most American citizens know, there is no such thing as a prinicipled Senator. Some claim they are and get on their soapbox but when you look at their true motives for such behavior you quickly realize they are either looking to their re-election or looking to line their pockets.....and Joe is a fine example of such a these people sleep at night is lost to me...and Senators wonder why everyone seems to think they need term limits? Because God forbid they actually WORK for the money we pay them to actually accomplish something or they will be out of office for good....

Such behavior from our supposed "Representatives" doesn't surprise me or most Americans much but what does surprise me is that so many people just shrug it off as how things are supposed to work and don't give it another thought. People need to wake up to how corrupt Congress and hold these people accountable or else they are sent packing...but that's a rant for another day...

So in the end I have just one question for Mr. do you sleep at night you little Prick?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas...

As we get closer to Christmas, we are bombarded with Holiday sales and posters and TV commercials...and with these seasonal signs there is debate that happens every year...a debate of Political whether stores should say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" the point I woke up to the radio that other morning and heard a conservative comentator saying that because we are Christian nation the businesses should say Merry Christmas instead of giving into Political Correctness....and to be honest...I'm sick of hearing this stupid and pointless argument EVERY FREAKING YEAR....I could care less what the stores put in their windows greeting-wise....

First of all...any time should be throws the whole "We are a Christian Nation and therefore Christianity trumps all" is ridiculus and arrogant....We are a majority Christian nation with an incredibly diverse cultural/religious roots...and while this season is largely dominated by the Christian Holiday of Christmas, the holidays of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are also observed by millions of Americans...over the years some have complained that Merry Christmas was too exclusive and this need for political correctness and businesses realising they could make more money that way, they changed to Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings as we see today.
So is there a fairly valid argument for "Merry Christmas" only advertisements? Kinda...but there is another side to this point..

Some make the observation that the use of religously neutral phrases like Seasons Greetings or Happy Holidays are perfect examples of the seemingly Secular takeover of Christian holidays/events and that the holiday has been hijacked by corporate interests out for making money and caring very little for the religous significance of the season...this is a much stronger argument and I do agree with it mostly...but I find one major flaw in this argument...We are a Secular Nation...from a Governmental standpoint (and these in theory) and for the most part many Americans are quite secular in their everyday whether we like it or not, most Americans just don't care enough to get concerned about trivial debates over political correctness or secularism...and for this disregard of the religiousness significance of this holiday many Americans do get rather annoyed this time of year and I do agree with them...Christmas, much like other holidays (such as Valentine's Day) have been exploited by Corporate America and the religious content is largely marginalized to our Churchs and local festivities...

So what should we as Americans do about this constant and yet seemingly important argument...should we demand businesses change their signs and advertisements to Merry Christmas and to hell with political correctness? Or should we just go about our business as if nothing is amiss? To be honest, a bit of both is best. Business have legal right to make advertisements of their choice and no one has the right to tell them to change it just because they don't like it...there's nothing I hate more than people who attempt to force change via the is best for everyone to just remember the true meaning of Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) and just leave it at that...because if I remember correctly this is supposed to be a season of good will towards our fellow man isn't it?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A December to Remember....

As the year comes to a close, I find that very little exciting political news is circulating...Most of the news today is about debates that have been going on seemingly all year which makes me wonder, what have we as a nation accomplished in the year 2009? The sad truth is...not a whole lot...

The ongoing healthcare reform debate is still very much in the air. In the last few days there has been talk of a compromise among Senate Democrats over their version of healthcare reform which would expand Medicare and Medicaid to seniors as young as 55 and low-income families with a gross income of $33,000 est. and would ineffect allow million more Americans get affordable health insurance. In exchange for this expansion in federal programs, Senate Democrats appear ready to drop the public option so they can at least get all 60 Democrats to vote together and perhaps even a few Republicans...all this sometime before Christmas supposedly...but the debate won't be over of course. We must remember that IF the Senate passes a bill, it has to somehow reconcile it with the much more expansive and liberal House bill and that seems very unlikely considering how much more liberal the House is compared to the Senate (though Democrats are notorious for sacrificing their principles for political support/survival) we could still be months away from any kind of reform if any at all..

The Economy is still a bit shaky with small growth being seen in the GDP and it seems (for the time being) the unemployment numbers are slowly falling but consumer spending and bank lending is still very shaky and unemployment is still at 10% and the people are very angry of the continuing wastefull spending of Washington and this has emboldened the President's critics. The only true bit of good news as of late is the realization that some $200billion of the bank bailout money won't be spent so the government is now tryin got decide what to do with this big chunk of change....Obama has talked about a "stimulus lite" aimed at job growth and support for small businesses but some Republicans (and some Whigs and Independents) are calling for Obama to use the money to lower the Federal Deficit. So is the economy better because of the Obama administration? The jury is still out on that though I do believe if McCain were President the economy would be worse for wear.

And now the President has renewed our efforts in the war in Afghanistan with a troop surge of sorts with a fuzzy deadline..or sorts. For the most part I have avoided discussing the war here on my blog because though I do consider myself a history/military buff and I understand the challenges in Afghanistan more than most I don't believe I have to right to second guess our President. I do believe he made the right choice both by sending more troops though the vagueness on the exist strategy does both me a bit...but politicizing a war just isn't right and I just remember that he is more qualified than I to make such decisions and leave it at that...

So where does this leave us? The seemingly uselessness of Congress this year has even amazed me...though Healthcare reform is isn't needed right now...what Congress should be focused on is stabilizing the economy and trying to get people back to work and cutting wasteful spending so our deficit doesn't continue to spiral out of control...and sadly it seems like that will never change no matter who wins next November...because Republicans can talk all about fiscal conservatism but I doubt they'll really embark on any such behavior if they gain power next year...nothing ever seems to change in Washington D.C. these days no matter who's in charge and until Americans realize that and do something about it it's never going change....a December to remember indeed....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Quote of the Week

"The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life." - Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Long Live Teddy!-The real Progressive

For once I would like to take a moment away from the daily noise of politics and partisan attacks and reflect on one of our greatest Presidents (and my personal favorite when I was a political science major), Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt. Now many of you may be thinking, how does old Teddy have to do with anything we see in the news today? Plenty. Teddy was the politicians who largely invented the term "Progressive" that we hear so many Democrats claim to be and Republicans rail against. Those who claim to be progressive today should look towards Teddy and they will learn a few things. While in school I wrote several very long essays and term papers on Mr. Roosevelt and found him to be a most fascinating and incredible man who was able to save our nation from corrupt government, environmental disaster, and global obscurity. Under Teddy's tenure, we cracked down on the political reward system that ravaged our government on the national level and forced individuals up for government jobs to prove they are qualified and not just because they know somebody...something we have seen a resurgence in recent years sadly....

Also under Teddy's tenure as President he saved literally millions of acres of national parks by executive order to save it from ambitious and destructive developers of the day (it took an act of Congress to finally stop him lol). He was the first "Environmentalist" President and without his actions we wouldn't have the many national parks we all know and love.

And possibly Teddy's biggest accomplishment was his actions in the area of foreign policy. When most people hear foreign policy and Teddy in the same sentence they think mainly of the Panama Canal. While that may have been his most famous achievement it isn't necessarily his best action. Two events during Teddy's presidency are key in my mind: the Treaty of Portsmouth and the so-called Great White Fleet.

The Treaty of Portsmouth was the agreement that ended the bloody Russo-Japanese War in 1905. The conference for this treaty was hosted by Teddy Roosevelt himself and while he wasn't deeply involved in the negoatiations, his role in organizing it and volunteering our nation for the talks earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. This was the first time an American President had overtly helped to end a foreign war we as a nation were not part of. And for what reason did Teddy do this? The idea that he did it out of the kindness of his heart or a love of peace sounds nice but is highly unlikely. To me, Teddy saw an opportunity to boost the United States' image and clout around the world and he did just that.

The second great foreign policy achievement of Mr. Roosevelt was the so-called Great White Fleet. This was the massive naval buildup that started before Teddy entered office for which he capitalized and helped boost American military power around the world. This buildup was capped off shortly before Teddy left office with a world-wide tour of this great fleet that was meant to show off and flex our military muscle. This tour is cited by many military histories as one of the reasons the Japanese choose to build up there navy during the first few decades of the 20th century that eventually led the clash between the Japanese empire and Pax Americana on the fateful day in December 1941.

Teddy's presidency was also noted for an economic scare the could have crippled the nation 22 years before the Great Depression. During this scare in which people scrambled to withdraw their money from banks which inturn caused banks to begin failing. Where was Teddy while all this was going on? Out hunting of course lol. Today such indifference to the economy would be and has proven to be political suicide (see John McCain September 2008). But this was a different time when the President wasn't necessarily expected to be able to fix the economy or manage it during a crisis because there just wasn't any precedent for it like there is today and I don't think that is such a bad thing. In Teddy's day the government just left the markets alone (with expection to crushing unfair monopolies) but the Scare of 1907 proved that some governmental control or supervision is vital to stable and fair economy (though this lesson wasn't learned til the 1930's). Funny enough, the man who saved Wall street and the banks from a major crisis in 1907 was none other than US Steel founder J.P. Morgan who infused million of his own dollars into the banking system to bring confidence to the market. Can anyone image Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or Donald Trump giving millions of their own money to help the failing banks back in 2008? I didn't think so.

But for me, it was Teddy's attitudes towards Politics as usual that really impresses me. Even today his thoughts on the government still ring very true and could have easily been made by a political pundit yesterday and not a hundred years ago. Today I read a quote of Teddy's that really hit me and it's inspired me to put up a few quotes of his this month in hopes of inspiring others to really think bout "Politics as Usual" so cheers all to all those who call themselves Progressives should look towards Teddy's words and heed them...Long Live Teddy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mr. Cheney..What can I say?

For the last ten days I have been taking a break from politics and my blog to relax and bit and for the Turkey Day but something has awakened my political spirit and that great honor goes to none other than Darth Vader himself, Dick Cheney.

Mr. Cheney has always been one of my least-liked politicans, to say he is an idiot would be foolish because I have never doubted his intelligence. To be absolutely honest I believe he was the most powerful VP in American History and also the most dangerous. The day he left office was a great day in my mind (because for all his mistakes, at least George was likable). Well unlike most former VPs, Cheney has continuously inserted himself in political agrument and made a complete Ass of himself. The main issue he has been whining and growling about is President Obama decision making towards Afghanistan. He has practically called the President a coward for "dithering" in his decision. While I do agree President Obama has taken a bit too much time making this decision, such decisions about war and our Soldiers is one that should never be taken lightly or hastely...

But it isn't what Dick Cheney said that angers me the most, it the audacity he has to even think that anyone should even pay any attention to him..because if anyone dithered in Afghanistan it was Bush and Cheney because while Obama has spent many months trying to make his decision, Bush and Cheney IGNORED our mission in Afghanistan for 6 years! To think this draft-dodger (5 deferments during the Vietnam war) has the guts to say ANYTHING bout someone's combat's just despicable. This man who has made a career of bad decisions in the area of foreign policy from his abandonment of Afghanistan during his tenure as Sec. of Defense under Bush Sr. to the invasion and botched occupation of Iraq with his equally worthless ally (and possibly the worst Sec. of Defense) Donald Rumsfeld to his lack of attention towards the war in Afghanistan when he was Vice President should just sit down and shut up because he is the LAST person I want to hear an opinion about Obama's decision-making....and while he may have a constitutional right to his opinion but he should have some respect for the President of the United States and just sit down and shut up bout issues he screwed up and helped create....Long Live Darth Vader

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fun Fact of the Week

I've decided that every week I'll post an interesting political fact...just something new for the blog goes nothing!

FUN FACT - NOVEMBER 20th, 2009

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892. It has been changed 4 times in its storied history but it's the writer that is the interesting part...He was a Baptist minister and..(Glenn Beck cover your ears) a SOCIALIST! Who'd a thunk?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sarah Palin...Oy Vey..

Well, after seeing nothing but Sarah Palin on MSNBC, FoxNews, and POLITICO...I have finally decided to direct my attention towards Palin. She is possibly the most divisive person in American politics, even more so than President Obama in certain aspects. So attention has been given to her as of late that CBS conducted a poll on how Americans see Mrs. Palin but I'll get to that in a little bit. In the meantime, I'd like to address Palin's book and its attack on McCain aides who she claims held her back and pushed her into situations she was comfortable with. While there is likely some truth to these claims, almost every major news agency and non-partisan groups (such as POLITICO) have found that most of her claims are false and McCain's aides have even provided emails to counter Palin's comments but I think there is a bigger issue here that no one seems to be addressing...if it weren't for these aides and campaign officials no one would even know who Sarah Palin is! Sure the people of Alaska knew of her but I consider myself a pretty politically aware person especially during elections and her name wasn't on any of the short lists of VP candidates I saw...whether she agrees with the decisions of McCain's advisors is largely irelevent considering she owes her very national political fame to's called being a decent and RESPECTFUL. To be honest, she was the VP candidate not the actually candidate and very rarely does anyone even pay much attention to the VP choice in the grand scheme of things but she has changed all that (which I do give her cudoos for). And there are some that see her attitude towards the McCain campaign in her book that indicates she thinks if she had been "let loose" McCain could have won the election....which I think is honestly ridiculus.

I myself was seriously considering voting for John McCain in 2008 but John choosing her for VP was the main reason I didn't vote for him. And I'm not the only one. There are many people I know in my home state that have told me time and time again that she is the reason they voted ultimately picked Obama over McCain...and the recent polls by CBS continue to reflect this belief that most Americans find her unqualified for national office (if she were to run). In this poll, 66% of Americans don't think she should run for President in 2012. The surprising thing to me is that this poll shows that only one group would like her to run, White Evangelicals and only by 4 points. Republicans are split right down the middle and Democrats (not surprisingly) overwhelmingly denounce the idea of her running.

Honestly, I don't think Sarah Palin is nearly as dumb as many people say she is, I just don't think she is as great as other people think she is. She does have one real thing going for her, she is definitely a political outsider which many Americans see as a good thing (something I don't really agree with). The problem(s) I have with Palin is that she doesn't seem to have much perspective on many political issues and she just seems to speak the conservative line and as of late seems to do nothing but complain about the 2008 campaign she has yet to take any real responsibility for her mistakes and if she can't do that she will never win over independents who want politicans who act like adults and not like a spoiled child blaming everything on someone else which is just dishonest and pathetic. The other problem I have with her is this claim her supporters say over and over that being a governor of a state means she has more experience than Mr. Obama before he was elected. While in theory this is a good argument it isn't true for ALL governors. Alaska is one of the smallest states in terms of population and population density and to me the only governors that are really qualified to govern the whole nation would be governors of Florida, Texas, California, or New York because not only have they had to deal with large populations but large and diversified economies and a diversified electorate. Claiming running the state of Alaska is the same as running the country just on a larger scale is absolutely ridiculus and obsurd. I said the same thing when former Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa tried to win the Democratic nomination last year. This claim is further crushed by the fact that she QUIT as governor because she claimed she wouldn't be able to win another term and would be a "lame duck" term which says alot. If she wasn't confident her own state would re-elect her for another term how does she think she is going to convince the American people to vote for her? Many have compared her quitting of the Alaskan governorship to Dick Nixon's actions after losing the 1960 presidential elections which eventually propelled him to the Presidency in 1968 but there is a flow in this thinking as well. Dick lost the election and spent several years prepping himself for the national stage and used the Governorship of California as a stepping stone to the Presidency (much like Ronald Reagan a decade later)...Palin seems to be plunging right back into the political arena just a year after losing an election (as VP) and just months after quitting as Governor of Alaska which just makes me wonder...what if Congress challenges her and makes her presidency stressful and bothersome will she just quit like she did as Governor? She can't even seem to take responsibility for her resignation and blamed it on the Alaskan legislature and her former brother in law and not on her own inability to handle the situation....can anyone think of the last time a political quiter still acted like they had a chance at higher national office? That would be like Dick Nixon acting like her could run again for President just a year after he's just crazy!

In normal times I think people (including Republicans) would largely ignore such a quiter but these aren't normal times. There is a strong anti-government sentiment in American and she is just the kind of political outsider people are looking for. To top that off, when one looks at the possible Republican candidates for 2012, she is the only exciting possibility. To be honest I don't think she will run in 2012 because she knows she can't win...just yet. If she is thinking what I'm thinking (frightening thought I know) she is waiting for 2016 because she knows with Obama gone (if he runs for a second term and wins) it would be much easier to challenge any likely Democratic successor and in the mean time she can build up political alliances and stay out of the political fray of Washington and repair her image and quietly build support. But by then she will have lots of political competition from another young Republican upstart, Bobby Jindal. So she may very well be tempted to run in 2012 because she knows she has a better chance of winning the Repub. nomination but I doubt she could defeat Obama (unless he does something really really stupid) due largely to her image as a quiter and a whiner. But I will give her this, she does have a hell of a following and definitely a larger one than any other well know Republican and I think that says something about the shape the Republican party is in these days...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Logical Healthcare Reform...I know crazy sounding right?

In the last few days, the political body that monitors and studies Medicare and Medicaid announced that their study of the current House bill for healthcare reform could potentially cost our nation hundreds of billions of dollars over the coming decades. Specifically, the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) announced on Saturday that they predict the House bill will INCREASE health spending by $289 billion by 2019 and healthcare will cost 21.1% of our GDP (compared to 20.8% currently). Among their findings includes some of the following:
1. The Public Plan will likely cost 4% more than private plans
2. 3million more Americans will be covered by their Employers because while 15 million more should be covered, many employers will shift 12 million of those Americans to the Public Plan to save costs.
3. 18 million people will likely remain uninsured and choose instead to pay federal fines.
4. The Bill would base Medicare payments to hospitals based on performance/productivity which could drive many hospitals to not accept Medicare.
5. The healthcare system could be severly strained by the massive influx of newly insured patients.

Obviously, several officials at the White House are challenging parts of this analysis and to be honest all analysis' should be looked at not as certainties but as possibilities..but there is likely some truth to this report and this just proves what I've been bothered about by this whole process..too fast and too one-sided to be the most logical type of reform. I've discussed in a previous blog on how Congress should have handled healthcare reform but I didn't go into a great bit of detail because I hadn't done enough research to be more confident in my observations but now that I've further explored both Republican, Democrat and Independent ideas on reform I'm offering a new and improved analysis:

As with my first ideas, I believe the Healthcare system should be reformed by several separate but independent bills. This way if only one or two of the bills make it through they will still help drive down costs somewhat (better some reform than none).
1st bill - Outlaw practices such as disqualifying people for pre-existing conditions and dropping people when they become sick. Also, remove the Insurance Companies Anti-Trust exemption. However, I do think the idea of being able to buy insurance across statelines in a possible compromise in this bill (if independent studies show it would drive down costs).

2nd bill - Limited Tort Reform (to maintain patients rights to protect themselves from malpractice) Case Study on Wellness programs' effectiveness on reducing costs (they sound good on paper but with people living longer preventative care will become more expensive).

3rd bill - Create a Public Option for those who can't afford private health insurance (largely targeted at basic services so private insurance will remain viable) and instead of an Opt-Out (in which state has to vote to exclude itself out of the program after it's created) let it be an Opt-In inwhich each state would choose to include itself in the Federal program by each legislative action or voter initiative.

Now this is a fairly logic approach with bits of reform from each side and I think would likely be reform Americans could get behind but sadly I fear such a Logical approach is a seemingly lost art in Congress these days..what happened to the days when the President could reach out not only to his own party but to the other major party (LBJ and Reagan come to mind)...has partisan politics become so great that simple cooperation is now considered political suicide? Sad times we live in friends..

The Dangers of "Revolutions"...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Hard Pill to Swallow...

Well, we now have a bill passed through the House of Representatives that hopes to reform our dysfunctional healthcare system. I actually watched part of the floor debate late saturday nite and to be honest there was only a few strong speeches from the Republicans that nite, while there were several strong and persuasive speeches by Democratic leaders, especially that of Rep. Weiner (yes that's his real name). He held up a copy of the Insurance package that each member of Congress and employee of the Federal government receives and asked the body shouldn't every American receive this kind of choice when it comes to their healthcare? He made a very good point, for several reasons but primarily because members of Congress receive excellent healthcare because they get a choice of several different plans and more importantly they will continue to have this great health insurance even after they leave Congress! To me, this is ridiculus because even if a person is elected for just once term (whether it be 2 years for House members and 6 years for Senators) they get government-aided healthcare for the rest of their lives...shouldn't they at least have to several terms before we start having to pay for their healthcare? This rationale is the reason many Americans and even several politicans have called on Congress to fully embrace the "Public Option" and be forced to take it themselves to prove it is a worthwhile venture and to be honest that does makes some sense to me...but the primary problem with this is it would cost far too much to be even remotely viable..

On the issue of costs, this bill is trully a hard pill to swallow...over $900billion over the next ten years according to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) and is "paid for" according to many leading Democrats, something I and most Republicans find unlikely. While directly this bill may not add to the deficit, it's the indirect effects that will likely affect the growing deficit. For example, one sticky issue that wasn't even covered in this House bill is what will happen to healthcare premiums under this bill...which sounds crazy because how can this massive bill is...which just proves what the Democrats' real goal from the start was...Coverage not Cost. Now this isn't a terrible position to have because to be honest you compare our healthcare statistic to ALL other industrialized nations and it will make you angry and disgusted...but as this time in our nation, with a still ever-present recession to deal with, Cost is what most Americans are concerned about and most believe we can worry about greater coverage later. As of right now, no one knows what such a bill would do for those of us who already have healthcare insurance either from private providers or employee-provided coverage. Does that make any sense to anyone out there??

Another sticky part of this bill is the idea of an individual mandate. This mandate would mean every American would have to get health insurance or else get fined by the government. Though there are subsidizes for those who can't afford such, this is the current aim of the Public Option. To many, including the President and myself, its makes some sense. Think about it, everyone is required by law to have car insurance in most states and which is more important your car's safety or your health? But this bill warps this good idea, because though most states do require you to have car insurance the federal government doesn't. This idea of the federal government telling its citizens that it has to buy something or else is not only ridiculus but borderline unconstitutional. An individual mandate should, like the Public Option, be left to each individual state to decide. Good thought...Terrible follow-through

Finally, the idea of not passing any kind of reform is also very difficult to comprehend. While I would be ok with it being delayed til the economy was stronger and could better handle it, I don't honestly believe the Republicans will be anymore accomodating with this issues in few years then they are now. If this is going to be our only chance to pass some reform then now is the best time to do it but I'm not sure if the final bill that emerges will be the best reform possible but that is the hazard of politics. Compromises are a necessity in politics and to hope for a perfect bill is setting yourself up for disappointment..but I often wonder why it is so hard for lawmakers to take a logical approach to the issues that affect all Americans today...perhaps I am the one being overly hopeful...but regardless this nation desperately needs some reform especially when compared to ALL other industrialized nations in the world.
So what should we, as American citizens, do about this Healthcare reform debate? The thing to do is do lots of research on all the proposals and bills and write/email/call your congressman/congresswoman or senator and tell them what you think because if you sit on the sidelines and don't put in your input you might just get something you don't like or Pay Attention citizens!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Where's the Middle-ground in this Healthcare Debate?

The Healthcare debate, the most divisive issue of 2009 (and likely will continue next year) is seemingly closer than ever to a conclusion. The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (who I am most definitely NOT a fan of..) has stated that they hope to vote on the House bill (H.R. 3962) on a rare Saturday session. Most likely the House will pass the bill and this would be one step closer to Healthcare reform. Of course it will hardly mean the end of the issue because not only does the Senate have to pass a bill, the two bills will then have to merged together and the final bill will then go to the President for signing. To be honest, I largely support most of the measures in the current House bill but the price tag and the massive scope of it does bother me a bit. I have paid a great deal of attention to the healthcare debate and have read the current bill. To me, it seems that the Democrats are putting too much too fast in this bill and therefore it makes it a hard pill to swallow. I have always wondered why they didn't try a staggered approach, for example:

1st Bill (pass before 2009 is out)- Ban Insurance companies from dropping people for "pre-existing conditions". Remove the Insurance companies anti-trust exemption.
2nd Bill (pass by Spring '10)- Pass measures (whatever they may be I'm not an expert on this) to lower insurance premiums
3rd Bill (pass by the end of 2010)- Establish a national Public Insurance Option for those who can't afford private insurance and allow each state to decide whether they want to "opt-in" by Legislative vote. And make members of Congress have to apply for this Public Option.

This makes the most sense to me, but it would be a much longer and possibly painful process but it would mean at the very least some reform would be achieved and would likely get some bipartisan support. But regardless, until very recently the Republicans have just sat by and yelled and screamed and not offered their own plan, that was til a few days ago. But to be honest if the Democratic bill is too much too fast, the Republican bill is much too slow and just pointless. The Republican bill, while costing less and would lower premium costs, would only cover a few million more people and would continue to allow Insurance companies to drop people for pre-existing conditions. The only advantage I can see that this bill does for the Republican is that they can at least claim they put up a bill, as terrible as it is.

Today the Republican house members (not all) held a "press conference" at the Capital in which several thousand Tea Partiers attended and vented their anger and outright ignorance towards to Healthcare reform. Led by Michelle Bachman, who the people of Minnesota should be ashamed of, she stated that as Thomas Jefferson stated that a revolution is good every once and a while. Are you serious? A congresswoman, supposedly a responsible and patriotic American, believes this healthcare debate requires a REVOLUTION to resolve. I honestly expect such chatter from Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh because they aren't accountable to anyone but for a member of congress to say such things and think she can get away with it is disgusting...what would be worse is if the people of Minnesota re-elect her though I know it is possible because a congressman from my home state of Iowa (Steven King) continues to win re-elections regardless of the ignorance and idiocy he often displays. At said rally posters in the crowd displayed beliefs that the actions of the government are socialist or worse (such as a poster that compared healthcare reform to a image of corpses at the Nazi concentration camp..) and I just wonder whether these people even try to research what they are protesting or they just blindly follow television/radio pundits as if what they speak is the truth. I've got news for these morons, the vast majority of Western Europe have either a "socialized healthcare system" or a single-player system that these people claim the Democrats are trying to pass, guess what, they haven't become Socialist/Marxist states deprived of freedom and liberty! Instead they have true universal healthcare and it costs much less than our current system and they often have longer life expectancies. I wonder how Michelle Bachman or Steve King would explain that? I think its insulting to all Americans that they believe we are politically weaker and simple-minded than our European counterparts and that allowing Healthcare reform pass would be the beginning of some kind of terrible Socialist takeover. I have honestly tried for months now to understand where Tea Partiers and right-wing crazies are coming from but I just don't get it. I may not think the current Healthcare bill the Democrats are pushing is perfect (and most agree it isn't) but the Republicans counter bill is just a joke. How do they expect political independents to think they are really trying to force a healthy debate on this issue when all they seem to do is yell and scream, but I don't think the Democrats have handled this the best either, they have been very partisan (not quite as much as Republicans) but the whole issue just illustrates the biggest problem with our political system. The idea of trying to find middle-ground and crossing the party lines is either seen as party treason or simply used as a political ploy to win votes..both parties should be ashamed of themselves...Somehow the political middle ground in Congress has become a No-Mans Land where Republicans and Democrats alike dare not tread...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tea Partiers a Sign of Things to Come?

With the NY-23 Election tomorrow, the news stations are all talking about the amazing rise of the nobody Conservative candidate Hoffman and the departure of Scozzafava from the race. This only leaves Hoffman and Owens, the Democrat in the race, and now polls show Hoffman with a small lead, so what does this say about things to come?

Many have said (including myself) that this race has divided the Republican Party and that this infighting could be a self-defeating issue for them. But after doing some reading and researching I've realized this is only a small part of a bigger issue for not only the GOP but for the whole American political system. While the Tea Partiers didn't necessarily pick Mr. Hoffman they are his strongest and more important supports, even more so than the many prominent politicans who came out to bat for him. They were powerful enough to force Scozzafava out of the race and now their man is in front. While I don't agree with a lot of things Tea Parties say nor do I agree with some of their tactics, if would be foolish to underestimate them or simply call them "astroturf". I do however understand why they're angry and do agree in principle with some of their ideas such as term limits, tax reform, and out of control spending. Now do I believe all Tea Partiers are conservatives? No, though it would appear the majority are, this is because Conservatives were the first and most successful at capitalizing on this anger towards the government. Regardless, this movement is very much real and appears (at least to me) to the first group capable of launching a viable third party and shake out political system to its core.

While the prospect of a viable third party capable of at the very least challenging the Democrats and GOP to keep their promises, I'm not sure the Tea Partiers can actually pull it off. What I believe is the true origins of this movement is the key to a third option in American Politics. The anger and discontent with our current way of things in Washington D.C. is very real and is the key to any successful Third Party whether it be Tea Partiers or Whigs. This movement seems to already have emboldened the Whigs to run for several federal offices which is fairly impressive considering out size. But it is too early to say who will be the last one standing is this political conflict or who will best utilize it.

The one prediction I do believe will come to pass is a transformation of the GOP as a whole. The fight for NY-23 has shown that the Tea Partiers are strong enough to get national figures to back the non GOP candidate Hoffman and force the GOP into a corner. When Scozzafava departed the race, she endorsed the Democrat Owens who is closest to her beliefs and now has been called a traitor by the same cornered and out of touch GOP that supported and who in the same breath jumped to support Hoffman. While this isn't surprising, it does show that the GOP is struggling with how to deal with friction between the Right and the RINOs (Republicans in Name Only). The fact that the only prominent Republicans to support Scozzafava was Newt Gingrich and the Republican House leader is very telling. Many on the news shows (especially MSNBC) has been talking on and on about who the GOP will soon become RINO free and could spell death to the GOP. While I don't necessarily agree with that assessment, I do believe the GOP is going to have to decide what to do with Tea Partiers, join them or not and this decision will decide what kind of party the GOP will be in the near Future. Either way, there are a growing number of American who call themselves neither Republicans or Democrats that will decide the political future of America.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Divided and Conquer?

As many of us have seen in the last week or so there is a hotly contested political fight in New York Congressional District 23 between the Democratic candidate, the Republican candidate and a Conservative Party candidate. Many have claimed this is a preview of what the 2012 election will be like, and if so I don't see why any Conservatives would be celebrating. I did some research and normally the Conservative Party of New York doesn't field candidates and instead throws its support behind either the Republican or Democrat, but not this time. Dede Scozzafava, the Republican nominee, is apparently not conservative enough for not only the conservatives in the NY-23 but also prominent Republicans across the nation including Fred Thompson, Sarah Palin, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and others. The only real prominent support from the Republican party Scozzafava is getting is from Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. This rift between the party establishment and its more conservative elements is very telling.

So why don't they think Scozzafava is the right person for the job? Because while she is endorsed by the NRA, she also is pro-choice and pro-gay marriage and is supported by local "Leftist" groups such as the Working Families Party and New York State United Teachers. So instead these prominent Republicans are supporting Doug Hoffman, who is very conservative and seems only to want to talk about the national issues and not local issues which he apparently knows little about. In a recent interview with a local newspaper, Hoffman was asked about local issues and problems and couldn't answer any of them! Now while having opinions on national issues is good there is big difference between Senators and Representatives. Senators represent the entire state and therefore are expected to to represent the entire state's interests in the Congress. Representatives on the other hand are elected by smaller districts and therefore are expected to represent their District's interests in Congress first, national interests second. So the idea of a candidate for Congress who knows little or nothing about the district he is trying to win over is just simply ludicrous. This point is reinforced by Newt Gingrich who believes the local Republican party leadership is the ones who should making the decision on who to run since they know the local interests and electorate best, I couldn't agree more.

The Larger issue with this situation is that in all likelihood the infighting of the Republicans is likely going to give the Democrat (Owens) a good chance of winning. And then where would that leave the Republican Party? It leaves many of its members confused and conflicted as to where the direction of the party is. What is says to me is that come 2012 the Republican party will have to choose whether they will be the party of Conservatives or the Party of Moderates and that choice is probably going to be very messy and more importantly..counter-productive. Divided and Conquer? Guess what, You're doing it wrong!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Can Tort Reform really save our healthcare system?

Well not quite, or at least not as much as some Senators/Representatives would have us believe...according to the good people at (who originally debunked President Bush's claim of hundreds of Billions that could be saved) has recently revised their opinion of malpractice reform. While reform wouldn't save us (the taxpayers) HUNDREDS of Billions, it would still save a good chunk of change. According to FactCheck and the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), could save 0.5 percent which translate to $11 billion a year. Now while this isn't the massive savings Republicans have claimed, I definitely think that when it comes to Healthcare reform every little bit of savings is step in the right direction.

Here's FactCheck's analysis:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fair and Balanced?

Lately we Americans have been bombarded with headlines about the media war between the White House and Fox News, mainly over the claim that Fox isn't really a new organization and instead is the media wing of the Republican party. To be honest I do find Fox's motto of being "Fair and Balanced" quite comical, but I believe that most citizens are missing the overall point, that News media is almost ALWAYS BIASED! But is it really such a terrible thing? When I was in college I took a class in Comparative Politics which compared the political systems of Western Europe to the United States and one interesting point is that in the United Kingdom most of the major news media are not only politically biased, they are proud of it!

Now do I believe that this is the right way for news media to act? I believe that true news agencies should just talk about the facts and give both sides of an arguement a fair chance to defend their stance...For example, Fox news early on in the Healthcare debate broadcasted several erroneous claims about the various bills...which were then echoed by other news agencies and many people watching just naturally assumed that these claims were true because they "trust" Fox. The amazing thing to me is that these news agencies with their vast research resources didn't seem to have anybody actually READ the bills which makes them just as bad as so many politicans that never read the bills they vote on....though all this missinformation did give the good people at Factcheck lots of work to do lol.

To me, I have always believed the news media is biased and it doesn't surprise me. These media groups are owned and controlled by very wealthy people and they know that they can display their political views THROUGH their news stations without taking any of the heat. So while I believe the media should try its best to be as un-biased and just tell you the facts and not take sides, I don't believe any of us are going to see that anytime soon and I believe that this is just part of the nature of American politics.

Now don't get me wrong, I think personalities like Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, or Keith Olbermann have every right to display their opinions on both television and radio. That is their 1st Amendment right. My issue is that some of these individuals purposely miss-represent the facts to advance their own agendas which is MAKING MONEY and they do this by saying controversial (or outright untrue) things that they know will draw in viewers, boast their ratings and make them more money. And I believe that the White House has every right to challenge any news agency that doesnt truthfully represent FACTS. Now do I go as far as Keith Olbermann in saying that Fox news isn't a real news agency and just the media wing of the Republican party? Not quite. Just as I wouldn't say that MSNBC is the media wing of the Democratic party or CNN or whatever...the real questions is are news media biased? Of course! Should we be shocked? Nope!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Going Out of Business?

Going Out of Business?

A recent TV advertisement has claimed that Medicare will be bankrupt in just 8 years...I think the good people at might have something to say to that lol...

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Good Site for Following Congress

This is an interesting site I found a little while ago that allows you to look up House/Senate Bills and even look up ur local Congressmen and rate their performance. You can also see how often they vote with their party. You can also look up hot legislation that is being discussed now and see the text of it, who proposed it and where its at in the massive buearacracy that is Congress..enjoy!

The Modern Whig Party

Established in 1833, the Whigs are one of America's oldest mainstream political parties. We were the original party of Abraham Lincoln and four other U.S. Presidents.
Revived by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the grassroots movement has quickly attracted tens of thousands of members. We represent moderate voters from all walks of life who cherry-pick between traditional Democratic and Republican ideals in what has been called the Modern Whig Philosophy. This Washington, DC-based national movement values common sense, rational solutions ahead of ideology and partisan bickering.
This includes general principles of fiscal responsibility, strong national defense and educational/scientific advancement.

I joined the modern Whigs more than a year ago because I see the Democratic and Republican parties for what they trully are, corrupt and impotent...and have grown tired of partisan politics (not that they're anything new). While getting my bachelors in Political Science and History I researched and wrote numerous papers on both modern and early American politics and found that the modern era has strayed much from the roots of our Republic...where in today's world Tv and Radio pundits seem to have more sway than the politicians themselves and that these same politicians seem to act as if they are accountable to no one but themselves. No matter what party is "in control" it's still the same spending, bickering and corrupt government. Now I know what many people think of third parties, that they can't be very competitive or effective, but they don't have to win all the elections to make their presence known, in many cases when a third party candidate is relatively strong in the polls you'll find that his/her "mainstream" opponents will quietly adopt some of his/her ideas to benefit themselves. But I believe they also serve another good service, as a vent or voice to the independents who get stuck more than any other American listening to both parties mindless rhetoric...

I'm not asking anyone who visits or comments on this blog to become a member of the Modern Whig, just that you understand why I set up this blog and where I'm coming from on many issues. I believe every American should form their own opinions and convictions freely and not be confused by, bored by or lied to by political pundits and TV networks who are largely only out to get ratings and make money and not present the whole truth. Long Live Independents!