Saturday, March 31, 2012

Obamacare: Are Some Members of the Supreme Court Stupified?

Some members of the US Supreme Court recently stated that requiring Americans to buy health insurance is akin to requiring them to eat broccoli every day. We, that still have functioning glial cells, should pray to whatever gods may be for sanity to be restored to our country.

A more appropriate analogy to the "broccoli" argument would be that requiring Americans to buy health insurance is akin to requiring all Americans to eat. You don't have to eat broccoli, but you do have to eat. Wow!

Even the most staunch Tea Partiers, illustrated by their vehement attacks on the food stamp program, which beg the question that food is a luxury; will acknowledge that all Americans will eat without any coaxing from that evil Federal Government.

It goes without saying, but must be said since the Stupification of America occurred, that health insurance covers, not only disease, but also accidents that occur in the course of human life such as insect bites and chainsaw mishaps.

The power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, and thus mandate health insurance, under the Commerce Clause, is clear and present if the justices view the mandate in the context of the true nature of health insurance and the insurance industry.

Finally, Scalia, in regard to Obamacare, recently stated:

"Do you really expect us to read these 2,700 pages? Do you want my clerks to?"

Yes, we the people, who you work for, want and expect you to read every page. We expect you to do the job you were hired for. And if you are unable, you should resign for the good of America.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Are People Corporations?

The Supreme Court ruling regarding Citizens United (Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission) concluded that corporations are people. Behold the creation of the Super PAC and a transformation of elections and democracy here in the good ole US of A.

If corporations are people, does it follow that all people are corporations? Certainly not. But certainly those corporations using the benefits of personhood, should be exempt from the protection, legal and tax-wise, afforded them by their corporate status.

Many individuals and small businesses use both "C" and "S" corporations. The incorporation enables the individual to avoid certain, often regional, taxation, benefit from certain tax advantages not available to ordinary individuals, and most importantly, shelter themselves from legal liabilities.

In the post Business and Democracy, I pointed out the differences between corporations and individuals (people) in the context of the framing of the Constitution by our Founding Fathers. The rights of the individual are protected by the rights of the many and the common good. Often people support causes and legislation that is not in their self-interests, but is in the best interest of the common good and our country as a whole.The most stark contemporary example of this is Warren Buffett's avocation of increased taxes on the wealthy. One could cite wars and other examples ad infinitum. It is tomfoolery to believe that our country can be run like a corporation, or that most corporations could endure without the government, for that matter. Besides, what are we, as a country, going to do with "fired and laid-off" American citizens? Send them to jail or worse? Somebody has to pay for that.

I am not a Constitutional lawyer. But it would seem to me that if the super rich and global corporations masquerade as people for the purpose of co-opting our democracy, a Constitutional scholar might explore anti-trust legislation, as the gap widens between the rich and poor, and thwart this perversion of American democracy and our Constitution.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Forget About Limbaugh, Obama is the Best Hope

The quality of life for the vast majority of Americans has declined in the last decade plus. And many Americans, without looking at the causes and conditions, and the Big Picture, express the belief that things will get better and they will return to a time when they had a sense of well being, if they just get rid of President Obama.

Getting rid of Obama will, in fact, make things much worse, and effect the very conditions in America in a very negative way. For replacing Obama will not address the causes of the decline of the quality of life. Quite the contrary it will exacerbate the decline.

Annie Coulter, hardly a liberal, recently stated that the Republican party has morphed into a party of charlatans and con men. I have been saying this since I began writing the posts for this blog almost 2 years ago. And I have tried to document the transformation. The Republican party has traditionally supported business, free markets, individual rights, and traditional American values; but has also made compromises to support the good of the American people, thus upholding the ideals and values of our democracy,  in essence, our country. The current Republican party, regardless of what its candidates say, has become a lapdog for the super rich and global corporations; and their legislation and policy will further erode democracy and the free markets in this country and the world.

Things are getting better, slowly. The American automobile industry was saved. There has been consistent job creation. Bin Laden and much of the Taliban leadership have been executed. But we have a long way to go. Not reelecting Obama will improve the quality of life in America as much as getting Limbaugh off the air will. The underlying causes and conditions must be addressed. Obama is making progress despite the Republican circus. Limbaugh is nothing more than an entertainer. And he has profited handsomely from the dimwits in America.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sex, Lies & Videotape

This country was founded on the notion of separation of church and state. And prior to the divine creation of the Tea Party, both Progressives and Reactionaries, including Barry Goldwater and William Buckley, believed that what happened behind closed doors between consenting adults, was their business, plain and simple. And if the couple did not want a pregnancy to occur, that was their business too. And "small government" Conservatives, held this belief more strongly, in most cases, than Progressives.

Whether ultra-Conservatives paint birth control as a religious issue, or as a funding issue that violates the rights of the individual to family planning and financial decision making, their attacks are nothing short of fascist intervention reminiscent of what was done in Romania in 1966.

The ultra-Conservatives are blaming the Obama administration for the price of gasoline. Lies, lies, lies. When gas hit $4.11 for regular (based on the national average) in July 2008, W. Bush stated that "there is little a President can do. It is a matter of supply and demand." And when supplies are restricted because of global politics or manipulated by Wall Street and energy traders, prices will rise.

The ultra-Conservatives are representing themselves as job creators and stewards of the American people. More lies. At a recent Political Action Conference, GOP ringleader Grover Norquist talked about what he wants in the White House:

"All we have to do is replace Obama....We are not auditioning for a fearless leader. We don't need a President to tell us what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Paul Ryan budget...We just need a President to sign the stuff."

Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, and the "Game Changer", recently defended Limbaugh's statements about birth control and Sandra Fluke by stating, with various degrees of severity, that he is an entertainer. It appears that many of these "candidates" often forget that they are not.

Finally, I awaited with keen anticipation for the Hannity tapes of President Obama. I was expecting to see the President standing in front of a Symbionese Liberation Army flag, holding an Kalashnikov, and raising a clinched fist defiantly in the air. A hug from his professor? This was a bigger letdown than when Geraldo perpetrated a similar hoax 25 years ago. The entertainers at Fox must be running out of material.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

It's All About the Perception

A year prior to entering college, and during the summers while attending college, I worked on commercial fishing vessels that were based in various ports in New England. Working as a deckhand enabled me to pay for my room and board during the college term. My father was of the belief that something that one had to work for would have more value and would be more appreciated than something that one was given. Though I was unaware of it at the time, the discipline and work ethic, the skills, and experiences I acquired through this endeavor were going to be as valuable to me as the education that the endeavor was financing.

During this period of my life, I drank a fair amount of beer. And like most fishermen I had a "regular" pub and got to know the bartenders and patrons. We use to bring lobster tails and fresh fish fillets to reward them for helping us relax, after the hard work and stress of a fishing trip, by serving beer and conversation.

Over the course of the years I got to know the owner of the bar quite well. We occasionally talked about politics and social issues and women. I remember one conversation that we had that sticks with me today. After recounting the perils of the sea, the courage of the captain and crew, and the bounty that was harvested by our nets; as well as the fat stacks of cash in our pockets, he told me that fishermen have a stigma attached to them and are viewed as undesirables by our society. This was back in the 70's and because the vocation of commercial fishing was a means to an end for me, and I was usually drunk during these conversations, I was not particularly offended by what he said.

Decades later I am still telling fishing stories, and viewing those times with greater appreciation, and I recently thought about what Vinnie said to me. Though my recollection of Vinnie does not contain anything pejorative; I do remember he took care of his mother, paid his bills, and was kind to everyone; I am taken by his perception of fishermen. For I am sure that Vinnie could not have taken a boat away  from the docks, navigated through storms, filled the hold with fish, repaired ailing pumps, and negotiated with fish buyers. And our patronage enabled him to prosper.

This story illustrates part of what's wrong with America today. We view corporate raiders, CEO's, the New Derivative Thinkers, and Republican Private Sector Vampires as heroes, when in fact they are not. Remember, for a long time, Bernie Madoff was a hero. And the ultra-conservative media paints them as job creators and stewards of American democracy. In fact, they are not. And they tell us that if we are good Americans, and eat our peas and carrots, go to church, and support the party, everything will be great and we'll have $2 a gallon gasoline, again. In fact, we will not.

Finally, though I find Limbaugh to be one of the most contemptible Americans alive, it is very interesting that he views and supports pornography as illustrated by his statement that he would buy all the women of Georgetown University aspirin to put between their knees, as long as they post their sexual activity online for him and his colleagues to view. I wonder if Romney and Santorum share this predilection with him?