Hope On The Horizon?

We are nearly out of the woods after years in one of the most debilitating economic crises this nation has faced in its history.  Congress’  response to it?

Let’s do it again!

The possibility of sequestration with layoffs and furloughs for thousands of workers across this great nation will take all the effort and hard work that has gone on over the last few years and flush it down the toilet is a hard one to swallow from this group of do-nothing Republicans.  Forced to deal with that because our President, in order to get some kind of deal done back in 2011, had to make a deal with the devil, aka the House Republicans, to avert a complete disaster with the debt ceiling.

But there is some hope on the horizon.  Click here for links

A deal is still on the table, put their by the President that would avert the looming doom that is sequestration.  The deal includes the chained CPI, a hard but necessary step to take. It has smaller more palatable cuts to non-discretionary spending, with cuts in drug company payments as well as fee restructuring in a number of key areas. It also has within it a limitation in tax deductions for the wealthy that will generate well over half a trillion dollars.

Given that the alternative puts tens of thousands of people in harms way unnecessarily, I am hoping that the Republicans come t their senses and accept this deal, or perhaps some modified version of it, if this is unpalatable.

There are those on the other side of the aisle, most notably mr. P90x himself, Paul Ryan, who seem to think that sequestration is in some way acceptable.

I would ask him is furloughing police officers, firefighters, teachers, corrections officers, and the national guard  acceptable? I would ask him if all the pain and misery created by letting his friends in the defense industry lose money because of cuts in government spending, is that acceptable?  I would ask him if letting people suffering through no fault of their own because of being unemployed because their benefits would expire, is that acceptable?

I hope it isn’t, because America can’t take much more of this stupid decision-making on the part of the Republicans. They are leading America down a dark and ugly road towards economic disaster, and we’ve had enough of that already.  We’re done with that.

The deal that the President has laid on the table here takes into account our future in a way that is forward-looking, makes good use of our present to prepare for our future without causing too much discomfort, and shines a light on the right way to be fiscally responsible while at the same time helping those who need that help the most.

I for one could use some time off from all the histrionics that these Republicans keep creating.  Accept the deal and let us go on with our lives, please.  Thank you.

Dead On Arrival? I’m Not So Sure

Marco Rubio says the Presidents “Plan B” on immigration reform will be dead on arrival.  I am not so sure.  Let’s look at it and see why the presidents backup plan, if it comes down to it, can make it through both houses.

First things first. To understand the reasoning behind having a plan b, you have to first look at where plan A is coming from.  No one in this country is living under a rock, we all know how dysfunctional the congress has been.  The debt ceiling negotiations showed America exactly what the house of representatives is about.  Gridlock and showboating for ideas that are not so much ideas as they are the whining carping noise of spoiled brats who expect to get everything they want when they want it, and that is both sides of the argument. And what they did with every other major piece of legislation over two plus years points to a level of ineffectiveness that is as startling as it is sweeping.

The filibustering that happens in the senate on every single piece of important piece of legislation, where everything is forced to a cloture vote shows a complete and utter disregard for the needs of the people of this divided nation. The senate cannot agree to a simple straight up and down vote on anything.  Mitch McConnell and his cronies have made sure that everything that runs through the senate has the taint of obstructionism attached to it.

But there are other things afoot here with immigration legislation.  The Republicans, the architects of the obstructionism listed above, know that part of the reason they got beaten in the 2012 election cycle was the fact that they lost the Latino vote by a nearly 4 to 1 margin and they want desperately to change that.  The know they need something to hang their hats on that will attract latino voters, and the best place to do that would be here.

But the obstructionists have a history of shooting themselves in the foot. Enter the President with a backup plan, just in case the obstructionists do what they do best and block sensible legislation.

Now we know Republicans don’t generally cotton to voting for democratic proposals, especially with a democrat in the White House.  But that should be mitigated somewhat with the need to try to attract Latino voters to a Republican party that is  becoming the party of old white people and rich tax dodgers.

Now I am not saying that there is going to be widespread Republican support for any plan B that comes from the Presidents desk.  I’m not even sure if it will come to that plan B.  What I am saying is this; there is a likelihood that enough Republicans, sensing nationwide losses that could occur if they do nothing on this subject, will jump on board and vote for sensible legislation, especially on a subject as high profile as this.

Especially those Republicans in blue or purple states.  And there are enough of those to turn a Democratic plan B which has in it a road to turn illegals into citizens (and voters who may well vote for them if they give them a chance to live here) and makes them pay taxes on money earned when they were illegals into a winner even in Republican circles. You would think that more voters on their roles and more money in government coffers without raising taxes would be popular with them.  Go fig.

Marco Rubio would be better served looking out for the long term interests of the nation rather than focusing on shooting Republicans in the foot with fiery rhetoric.

Again.

Pardon The Expression

Pic of the day:  Fantasies about a found glove, dedicated to the lady who lost it, 4/10 by Max Klinger  (1878)

1878_Klinger_Handschuh_04_Rettung_anagoria

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That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.

Aldous Huxley, Collected Essays (1959)

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And it begins…

The propaganda war that we all knew was coming has started, the one where America will argue with itself about gun control.  That those on the side of more guns have again started their foray into madness is not a surprise, though the timing is.

They haven’t even finished burying the dead in Newtown yet.

It’s a pity really, that we’ll have to once and for all deal with these madmen and their paranoia, and pardon the expression, shoot down the idea that sensible gun legislation will interfere with ordinary men and women owning guns when it won’t.

The gun side of the argument has already began calling talk of and petitions for gun control “Magical thinking.”  I read it on reason.com, a curiously named right wing libertarian site, what with the complete lack of reason noted on that site.  Now what does magical actually mean?  Near as I can tell it means that they think that because there is no concrete plan in this talk and petitioning , aside from “don’t let homicidal maniacs get their hands on guns and kill people, because hey, we’re people, and we kinda like not getting shot dead.” nothing concrete can come of it.

When we all know that isn’t true. Fresh legislation is in fact already pending in the Senate, thanks to New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg.

I’ve always wondered why the NRA crowd gets so, again pardon the expression, up in arms over gun control.  It s not like there has ever been legislation produced or even imagined that says No one can ever have guns again, end of statement.  Never has been said, never has that thought been brought forward, at least not by anyone with a brain in their head.

But that is exactly the kind of argument that the NRA and their kind put forth and pretend is the reality that will occur if we are to ever have real serious gun control legislation pass.  And the end times scenarios they paint on top of these ridiculous and patently false claims are so disingenuous as to be unbelievable.  They would have you believe that any attempt at gun control in America would destroy our ability to defend ourselves(bullshit), and turn the entire nation into a land ruled by gun toting gang members (more bullshit) where honest law abiding citizens will be unable to walk the streets free at night (major bullshit.)

The first time heard these arguments put forth, I lolled.   But they are serious. The NRA even created a brochure back in 2006 with bright glossy pictures, some quite ominous looking, to drive the point home.  They are the same arguments used now, heard them after Columbine too, well before the brochure was even thought of.  Heard them after Va Tech. Heard them after Aurora.

It’s a lie.

It’s a lie.

It’s a lie, and if you believe it you are, pardon the expression, out of your fucking mind.  All we want to do is make sure we are safe, which we clearly aren’t at this point as a nation.  I can still be free if guns are controlled and regulated by law like cars.  And so can you, and if you don’t think you can be then either you live in a really shitty neighborhood or you are paranoid and delusional and perhaps should not be allowed to play with the grown up toys, dangerous little thing that you are.

Just saying.

There is more on this subject to write about, a great deal more, and I’ll get to it at a later date.  I have things I must do.  I’ve taken as much time as I can here today. Tomorrow, perhaps.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night.

On First Reading

Pic of the day:  Bennington Battle flag

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Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments, the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is chiefly to be apprehended, not from the acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents.

James Madison, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 1788

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I am in the process of reading the supreme courts ruling in the case National Federation of Independent Business v Sibelius.  I have to tell you it is an interesting read.  And not without twists and turns.  I can see why CNN and Fox were quick to say that the law was being overturned.  Much of the beginning statement was reasoning for the individual mandate to be overturned.  And the reasons were soundly thought out and reasonable.

Curious I should say that, seeing how I am very much for this law, personally.  I was much in line with Chief Justice Roberts rationale against using the commerce clause and the necessary and proper clause to constitutionally validate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, once I read it.

The rationale against the law when looked at from these arguments is entirely reasonable.  I personally think he is right because in light of those arguments, it is a creation of power above and beyond the mandate of congress.  These two instances (commerce, and necessary &  proper) are both there to protect already enumerated powers, laws that already exist.  The health care law overstepped those bounds and created powers that did not exist before, and because of that the Chief justice shot those arguments down.

But the taxation argument saved the Patient protection and Affordable care act.  Despite the fact that the law calls the penalty for not getting health insurance a “penalty” and not a tax, the court said that they would simply look at the penalty as a tax, because the law is enacted in such a way that the penalty is actually paid like a tax, and is in fact collected by the IRS, and, according to the court, “the payment is not so high that there is really no choice but to buy health insurance.”

And payment is not intended to induce the purchase of health insurance, and there are no negative legal consequences to not buying health insurance.

Says so right in the writ of certiorari.  It’s on page four.  Click here to read the entire thing.

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The one thing I have not seen is the actual amount one would have to pay should one not have health insurance.  I have heard from some fearful right wingers that there will be jail time for those who do not buy health insurance.  Which is just plain silly. There will be no jail time for anyone not according to the law that I read, and that law is the same one that Justice Roberts signed off on.

Partially.

He did say that stripping states that do not comply with the law of their medicare benefits was “Dragooning.”

Can’t say that I disagree as far as that goes, but it doesn’t go far enough.  The states that simply turn their backs on the people who would be helped by this law won’t agree with Justice Roberts here.  And neither do I.  There are abuses that the state can heap upon the individual, just as the federal government can, and this was meant as a protection from the states “dragooning” the citizens of those states who turned their backs on this law, against the will of the electorate and would make them suffer with sub-standard medical coverage.

I would much rather see a state government made to suffer some harm than to see it’s citizens health unnecessarily compromised due to purposeful disregard of a federal law that does not impinge on my freedom, which this does not.  Mind you complete loss of their medicare coverage was a bit much. Some other penalty could have been brought to bear that would have stood the constitutional test.  The law would have survived untouched if not for that major misstep by congress.

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Pic of the day:  Mademoiselle Marcelle Lender by, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

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A popular Government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

James Madison, in a letter to W.T. Barry, 1822

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That’s about it from here, America.  G’night.

Bursting The Balloon

Pic of the day: Bursting the Balloon, political cartoon from 1844.

Click the link above to see a full-sized version of the cartoon.  Call this a premature celebration, showing Henry Clay and his VP Frelinghuysen rising up and James Polk falling.  Polk defeated Clay in a very close 1844 election.

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No president who performs his duties faithfully and conscientiously can have any leisure. If he entrusts the details and smaller matters to subordinates constant errors will occur. I prefer to supervise the whole operations of the government myself rather than entrust the public business to subordinates, and this makes my duties very great.

James K. Polk, diary entry from 1848

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Viddy of the day;  Checking in:  Health Care Reform across the country.

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Healthcare reform would improve individual insurance.  At least according to the article I read on a site called nurse.com. It is a very short article about how insurance costs to the individual would be affected by the scheduled introduction of the new health care exchanges, which take effect in 2014.  The article makes the point that individual insurance market will drastically change, for the better as I read it, for the purchaser when the exchanges come into being.

Should they come into being.  If the Supreme court holds back and does not dismantle this portion of the affordable healthcare act.  I am not holding my breath waiting for them to make a decision in favor of the customers here. During the last few years, during the regime of Roberts court, business has made out extraordinarily well.  I do not expect that to change over much. If insurance companies will make out better without the law, they being good businessmen, will accede to the demands of the insurance companies.

Especially if Justice Thomas has anything to do with it, he being as politically active in extreme right wing politics he and his wife are and have been.

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If you read near the bottom of this article, you will read where a Senator from the state of disbelief (aka Texas) said something unbelievably dumb.  He said that Uncertainty over taxes was damaging to the economy.

Uncertainty over taxes is damaging to the economy?

Uncertainty over taxes is damaging to the economy?  

BULLSHIT!   The usual stupid bullshit that makes sure that the rich pay less than the poor tax-wise is damaging the economy.  Screw you, Sen. John Cornyn.  You sir, are an idiot! And if you read the rest of his diatribe, you can see just how much of a lying sack of shit John boy is.

And the President is right, congress needs to get their asses moving on that jobs bill.  Unless the Republican house likes looking tentative in the face of increasing economic uncertainty.

Read the article, please.

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That’s it from here, America.  G’night!