A Word From Your Local Profiteering Health Insurance

A man living in the United States is diagnosed with throat cancer. He works in a factory and as a result, has medical insurance provided in large part by his employer.

His doctor advises him to see a specialist who operates and surgically removes the tumor. Following this procedure, he receives six months of radiation treatments as a measure against recurrence. Two years later, at a regular checkup, his doctor announces that there has been no recurrence of his throat cancer and declares the man cancer-free.

Some time later, as a result of American jobs being shipped overseas by corporate forces encouraged to a considerable extent by the fallacy of the trickle-down economics of the Bush administration, the man is laid off his job. However, he had a small part-time business as a photographer, so he quickly builds that up to a full time job to support himself. He’s not making a ton of money, but he can support himself if he’s frugal about his spending.

Shortly after doing so, he notices a lump in his neck again. His old medical insurance has run out, but nevertheless he goes to his doctor who diagnoses a return of his cancer. Immediately surgery and radiation treatment are called for but are very, very expensive and without health insurance, he can’t get it. He buys health insurance, even though he really can’t afford it, but the insurance company won’t cover a pre-existing condition.

He fights the decision of the health insurance company and ultimately it relents, paying for an operation to remove the tumor and for the post-operative radiation. But in the year of delay, the cancer has spread to his liver and his lungs. The man is now terminal. He will die before his time because of the broken profit-driven health care system of the richest nation on Earth, the USA.

If the same man lived in a country like Sweden, he would have received necessary treatment when he needed it. Period. His life would not have been shortened because of corporate greed policy, endorsed by conservative political principals.

How is it that in the richest nation in the world, the nation which touts its commitment to the highest ideals of freedom, liberty, equality, opportunity, safety and security, the nation that claims to be the beacon of hope to the rest of the world, how is it that a man, a citizen, a taxpayer can be allowed to have his life shortened because of corporate greed and political dogma?

Those Americans who never go anywhere may have no way of knowing how the USA looks to other countries and other peoples around the world. Events such as these make us look selfish, self-centered, greedy, and insensitive to human suffering. If we don’t even respect the lives of our own citizens enough to save them, how can we be expected to respect the lives of anyone else?

As the race for the presidency heats up here in the US, pay close attention to the details regarding plans for health care reform of each of the candidates.

Note that regardless of how it’s done, the republicans still want the insurance companies to make all the decisions for you.

Do you really want some penny-counting bureaucrat deciding whether you should receive treatment and just how much you should receive, or should that decision be left solely between you and your doctor?

Being healthy should be a basic human right. After all, the U.S. Declaration of Independence itself states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, That all men are created equal, That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

If life and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable rights, and you can’t exercise them if you’re sick or dead, then it stands to reason that universally provided health care is a prerequisite means to those rights, doesn’t it?

Tax You Very Much

Since we are well into the primary season here in the USA, it really is a good time to start looking at some of the issues, and none of them screams louder right now, in light of the global economic meltdown that is occurring around us, than the differing views on taxation to fund the government and all of its functions.

First, though, a short review of how we got here. Until the early twentieth century, the US government was funded primarily through excise taxes or more appropriately consumption taxes, and without the use, except in time of war, of income taxes. Since 1913, the income tax has grown from a tax 1% of the population paid to the 26,000 page monstrosity of a legal code that it is.

Early in his presidency, G.W. Bush pushed through legislation that gave huge income tax cuts to large corporations and the very wealthy top 5% of Americans, with very meager cuts to the middle class. He insisted that these tax cuts would stimulate the economy, create jobs, and usher in an era of unprecedented prosperity for all Americans because of trickle-down economics, first promoted by Ronald Reagan, and now evidently embraced by Bush himself.

Gee, what happened? In the first three weeks of January 2008, the US stock market lost all of the gains that it had made during the entire year of 2007, and most of the world economic experts believe that we are either in or are about to enter a recession. So such for trickle down voodoo economics and the magic spell of making the very rich very much richer.

Enter the 2008 presidential campaign and the dusting of all the alternatives known for years to the federal income tax code. We have:

1. No tax (uh huh). Everyone gets an AK-47 & unlimited ammo, and the last one standing wins;

2. Pre-1913 tax structure, i.e., massive federal excise taxes, except income tax during wartime;

3. Flat rate income tax. Everyone pays the same percent of income, no exceptions.

4. Federal sales tax, also known as consumption tax (“Fair tax”).

5. Combination of some or all of the above.

While it is unlikely that any changes will occur to our tax structure regardless of who gets elected in November, (too politically hot for most congresses), Mike Huckabee has to get honorable mention for at least promoting change with what he calls the “Fair Tax”. He proposes a federal sales tax of 23% which would replace all federal income tax withholding, would dismantle the IRS, and would eliminate the insane, indecipherable US tax code.

Imagine receiving your entire paycheck (minus any state withholding if you’re unfortunate enough to live in a state that does such a thing), and further imagine being able to make decisions about what you will pay federal taxes on. You may decide to buy something now knowing ahead of time what the taxes will be, or you may decide not to buy it right now. That choice would be yours alone to make, and not the government’s.

Huckabee’s plan would also provide a “pre-bate” to folks to cover the tax on necessities such as food and medical goods and services, but those sorts of goods and service could easily be tax-exempted up front without the need for a “prebate”.

And who can argue with eliminating the IRS, one of the most feared and hated agencies in federal government?

There are modified iterations of the “Fair Tax” plan circulating that would ensure that the poor paid no tax at all, just as occurs now. Overall, it seems the best way to guarantee that everyone pays what they can afford to pay. It ensures EVERYONE pays taxes, including criminals, pimps, hookers, undocumented foreign workers, the teenager mowing your lawn, and everyone outside our present tax collection structure.

And most ideally, it puts the decision-making authority in the hands of the consumer. So who is adamantly opposed to it?

You guessed it. The folks who want to buy those $5,000,000 pleasure yachts and $10,000,000 Learjets and don’t want to pay $1.5 million and $3 million respectively in taxes on them. But if those folks can afford to buy a pleasure yacht and a Learjet, are they really going to miss that tax money? Because if they don’t pay the tax on these elective luxury purchases, the government will still collect that tax from somewhere and someone.

And guess who will pay it if they don’t?

You.

Like Father, Like Son, Even Before She Was Born

On Monday night, January 14, 2008, the night before the Michigan republican presidential primary, a CNN reporter was interviewing three Michiganders in a quaint little bar/restaurant called the “Coney Island”. These three citizens were going to vote the next day for Mitt Romney and were giving their reasons for that selection.

The first was a gentleman who had been out of work for quite some time. Michigan has the worst unemployment rate of any of the fifty states of the USA at over 7%, due in large part to the loss of manufacturing jobs, including but not limited to automobile manufacturing jobs to overseas consortiums. You see, there is no tax incentive to keeping these jobs here in the USA, despite seven years of republican rule and seven years of Bush tax cuts for the very rich and for corporate America.

As a result, it is much cheaper to have goods manufactured in China, for instance, and then have them imported into the USA than to have good, solid American labor do it. Corporate greed at its very best, assisted by a government committed to helping its corporate friends.

Thus, it is baffling that this Michigan man, who lost his manufacturing job as a result of this ritual, would even consider voting republican, but that is not the worst of it.

The second interview was with a woman in her late thirties, which means she was in all likelihood born circa 1970. She was laid off from Chrysler two months ago and was moving to Georgia to find work. She was going to vote for Mitt Romney as well. Her reasons:

Mitt’s father, George Romney had been a three-time governor of Michigan in the 1960s and was considered to be popular. Before that, he was Chairman of American Motors Corporation, the good folks who made Rambler automobiles. Since Ol’s George was so well liked in Michigan, that was a good enough reason to give his son Mitt a chance, and therefore she would vote for Mitt in the primary. Of course, she wasn’t even born when George Romney was in office!!

After hearing that twisting reason for voting, it was not possible to wait to hear why the third person was also voting for Mitt. If you scroll down to the previous blog article, you’ll certainly understand why.

Of course, people have all kinds of bizarre reasons for voting for the incompetent and undeserving, and one of those reasons is having the status of “favorite son”, or in other words, being from somewhere where a special event once took place. After all, Mitt was governor not of Michigan, but of Massachusetts. But Mitt was born in Michigan, where his father, George Romney, was governor in the ‘60s.

But wait!! Ol’ George Romney was born in Mexico!!

And what about Massachusetts, where Mitt served as governor from 2002 through the end of 2006 (January 4, 2007 actually)?

Well…the Boston Globe, which is the premier daily newspaper in Massachusetts, has endorsed John McCain for President!!

Wow! This “favorite son” stuff is really getting complicated, isn’t it?

But on the bright side, perhaps there still are places such as Massachusetts where a candidate is going to be judged and chosen not because of whom his or her father was, or where he or she was born or what color his or her dog was or how he or she was pro-choice before but anti-abortion now, but based upon the content of his or her character, the philosophy he or she believes in, and the clear details of the programs he or she communicates to us that he or she intends to implement upon taking office.

In the meantime, the folks in Michigan are a testament to the axiom of the human condition that when everything around you is failing, sooner or later you’ll be desperate enough to try anything, even if it’s the same old thing in a new wrapping.

But what they really need is anything other than more of the same, no matter how pretty the wrapper is.

The Buying and Selling of the American Presidency

The basic process of selecting an American president every four years is defined in the American Constitution, and that historical document has withstood the test of time for more than two centuries. But there is nothing in the Constitution that mandates that political parties must hold primary “pre-elections” to select nominees for their political conventions, nor what form these political primaries will take, nor what process will be followed to raise money or how, or on what, this money will be spent.

In fact, when primaries were first introduced to select delegates to vote for a nominee for president at a political convention to face the similarly selected nominee from the opposing political party (complicated, huh?), there were no televisions, computers, internet, cell phones, iPhones, pod casts, satellite communications, CNN, or blogs. There also were no plugged-in 24/7/365 newscasts we could access while we rode our bikes, cars, trains, or airlines to work.

But with the instantaneous and pervasive communications of today’s world, is the present primary election system wasteful and obsolete? And is there a better way to elect or select our president?

After all, when one looks at the present occupants of the White House, one has to acknowledge that there has to be a better way, right?

First, look at the obscene amount of money that is spent on the campaign itself. A quick examination of the funds raised indicated that between Clinton, Obama and Ron Paul alone (who? 🙂 ), over US$60 million had already been raised for the primary purpose of buying political campaign media. That amount of money could have gone a very long way toward feeding starving children in Africa, but instead would be used to buy TV ads in at attempt to sell you snake oil by different candidates, over and over and over and over.

Evidently, the premise is that without this targeted expenditure of this money, you are too ignorant and too isolated to know who to vote for.

There is a better way, though, and it is right in line with the manta of CHANGE of practically every candidate in this season’s political field. It’s radical, even revolutionary, based upon merit, data and common sense, follows a basic methodology already in use in many of today’s everyday systems, and can be readily implemented with off-the-shelf technology. Therefore, it’s hopelessly doomed to failure, but what the hell….here it is, anyway, in two easy to understand parts:

1. License of Objective Candidacy:

License of Objective Candidacy would provide an identical data sheet of each candidate and equal campaign funding, media access, and debates. Each candidate would answer multiple choice questions developed by political science experts regarding past, present and future scenarios. The candidates would each have the opportunity to present his or her platform in outline form, without all the fluff and oratory that normally accompanies campaign speeches. All candidates would have equal access and opportunity and be presented equally, and would have equal public campaign funding to use in equally allotted media time.

Candidates could further communicate unrestricted via websites and internet and email, since citizens have access to receive or tune these out.

2. License to Vote:

No one questions that people need to know some basics about driving before being allowed access to the highways. They must pass a written test about the laws of the road, as well as a driving test, to be licensed to drive.

So why do we allow people to vote without ascertaining their knowledge of the candidates or their government beforehand? In other words, be licensed to vote.

A simple exam to determine that citizens have a basic working knowledge of what they are voting for is not disenfranchising, as some might claim. Quite the contrary, an informed voter’s choice is somewhat disenfranchised by a person who votes based upon the color of a candidate’s dog, for instance. Answering basic government questions, such as:

1. How many branches of government are there?

2. The Bill of Rights is part of what document?

3. Who is your Congressperson?

4. What state is Washington, DC in?

5. Name at least two candidates running for president;

should be mandatory to be licensed to vote in a presidential election, for instance. If you can’t answer these questions, why would anyone want you to cast a vote in an election you don’t know enough about to vote in it?

That would sort of be like allowing a wheelchair operator to perform brain surgery simply because he’s in the hospital wearing scrubs, isn’t it?

Put another way…look at the present White House occupants. Now it’s starts to make more sense, right?

The Most Dangerous Man FOR America

Happy New Year 2008 to all our readers at “We, the People!!”

Today is Wednesday, January 2, 2008, the day before the first presidential primary of the 2008 season in the United States, namely, the Iowa caucuses. Democrats and republicans alike have been campaigning furiously for the votes of their respective supporters, and tomorrow, January 3, 2008 will tell how well they each did with the money and support they raised over the past months.

Interestingly, on the politically conservative side, America is perhaps the only western industrialized country left on earth where people will donate thousands of dollars to a candidate who promises to work to keep them from paying far less than they spent in campaign contributions on universal health care. Go figure.

Nonetheless, there are good, honest and sincere folks running on both side of the political spectrum. “We, the People!!” could hardly be called a conservative blog, but would, in all fairness, describe folks such as John McCain and Mike Huckabee as honorable and decent men.

The title of this article was not “The Most Dangerous Man IN America” because that title is presently co-held by “Battle-axed” Bush and “Tricky-Dick” Cheney.

And it’s a cinch that almost any candidate running, regardless of party affiliation, would establish and maintain a better administration than the corrupt, incompetent, constitutionally-challenged one torturing the rest of us that presently occupies the White House.

But there is someone running for president of the US that clearly would be as dangerous for America and the rest of the world as the two presently holding the “most dangerous” title if he can get elected, or, put another way, if the American people are stupid enough to elect someone like him a third time:

Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney and his hired political goons are attempting to reinvent George W. Bush a la 2000 presidential campaign. That’s when ol’ GWB had to figure out a way to bash Clinton’s years of budget surplus and prosperity by coining the phrases “fuzzy math” and “compassionate conservative”. Looking back from today’s perspective, those phrases seem like so much voodoo, don’t they?

But back to Mitt the potential torture pit. His advisers told him the liberal positions that he had adopted back in 1994 to run against Ted Kennedy and that he continued to carry to be elected governor in liberal Massachusetts in 2003, would have to change one hundred and eighty degrees virtually overnight if he wanted to be run for president in 2008. Considering that he was governor until January of 2007, and considering that he filed for an exploratory committee to become president that same week, his miraculous change from liberal to conservative really WAS overnight!!

The following is a partial list of those changes Mitt experienced as he filed for that “exploratory presidential committee” status on January 2, 2007, two days before his term as Massachusetts governor ended, and exactly one year ago today:

1. Mitt was pro-choice, having taken the position that no woman should ever have to suffer through an unsanitary, dangerous, illegal abortion. Then, :::POOF!!::: On January 2, 2007, he was anti-abortion.

2. Mitt, in his 1994 race for the senate seat held by liberal Ted Kennedy, said that he would be a stronger advocate for gay rights than Ted Kennedy himself. In fact, as governor, he supported civil unions for gays and had town clerks in Massachusetts issue marriage licenses to gay couples to marry. Now, :::POOF::: he’s against any form of union for gays and also against gays adopting children.

3. Mitt, as governor of Massachusetts, raised fees and even taxes to bring a state budget deficit down. Now, :::POOF:::, he has said publicly that absolutely he will never sign a bill raising taxes. Evidently, that means not even raising the cap to save social security!

4. Mitt once wanted to make contraception available over-the-counter. Now :::POOF::: he disagrees with that position and advocates that only married couples should be having sex, anyway.

5. He employed undocumented foreign workers in his home on multiple occasions ostensibly because they provided this multi-millionaire with incredibly cheap labor. Now :::POOF::: he calls them illegal aliens and wants them rounded up and deported (at taxpayer expense, no doubt).

The list goes on and on, and the more you learn, the more Mitt seems to have a “W” in his name somewhere. That makes him a danger to himself and others. But right now, his power is limited to the misguided folks and for-profit corporations who are contributing to his campaign. If he get elected, everyone in the United States will be paying, as they are and will be paying for generations what the Bush/Cheney debacle has wrought upon this country and the world.

The New Hampshire newspaper “The Concord Monitor” is one of two in that state located right next to Massachusetts (and thus well-situated to know) that wrote an “anti-endorsement” of Romney for voters. “We, the People!!” readers are urged to read it HERE. It really does lay out what a phony flip-flopper Mitt Romney is.

And if Mitt can’t be trusted while running for the job, how could you possibly trust him IN the job??