If You Get Sick, Die Quickly

Late last night, freshman democratic congressman Alan Grayson of Florida’s eight district (Orlando, Ocala, Eustis) addressed a late-night session of the US congress on health care reform.  He was allowed to speak for up to five minutes, but only spoke for half of that.  He was obviously prepared for the opportunity to have his say, however, in that he brought with him an easel and prepared charts for reference, clarity, and illustration.

Although few congresspeople were actually in attendance as is normal for late-night congressional sessions, Grayson spoke on the congressional record of president’s Obama’s health care reform speech before the joint session of congress two weeks ago, during which many republicans waved a piece of paper which was purported to be the GOP health care plan.  He stated that after that speech was over, he collected one of those sheets and found that, except for the title of GOP health care reform plan, the rest of the piece of paper was blank.

Thus, he attempted to make sense of what this GOP health care reform package actually meant.  As a result, after careful consideration of all the available information, he figured out that it is a three step plan.

Step one is “Don’t get sick“.  Evidently, if you simply don’t ever get sick, then what on earth do you need expensive medical insurance for?   The simple logic of this idea saves the country billions upon billions of dollars.  From a cost-effectiveness point of view, it’s difficult to argue with saving all that money.

However, realizing that no plan is absolutely flawless, and that the possibility of something slipping through must be covered as well, the GOP plan states in step two:  “And if you do get sick..“.  It seems that this step is incomplete if it doesn’t include an methodology to follow, but it’s purpose is to prepare us for the actual solution, which is outlined in exquisite detail in step three: “Die Quickly!

The congresspeople who were not present for Grayson’s short speech got to watch it later on C-Span.  Those interested can watch the actual two and a half minute speech as well, HERE.

When one compares this to the expensive democratic plan for health care reform, which includes health insurance for everybody and assistance for those who can’t afford it, the economic thoughtfulness of the GOP plan is readily evident.  After all, once you die, you no longer require expensive treatment, unless you’re Ted Williams, who had his body frozen in liquid nitrogen immediately upon his death to the tune of several hundred thousand dollars….but that’s another blog.   🙂

Clearly, it makes indisputable economic sense to not get sick.  But if you must get sick, it makes even more economic sense to die quickly, right?   And it’s no big deal, to die quickly, because most people believe in an afterlife, such as heaven (or hell, if you’ve been bad, or simply want to be with your friends), or perhaps some paradise flowing with milk and honey and 72 virgins who want to make you happy.  The afterlife’s specifics depend upon what your religious beliefs are.  But suffice it to say that most people in this country believe in some form of it and therefore would be all set by dying quickly under the GOP plan.

The only ones seemingly not covered in this way would be the atheists, most of whom don’t believe in any afterlife at all.  But then again, if those godless communistic liberals got sick and died quickly, that would dove-tail perfectly with the GOP’s desire to keep their religious-right political base happy and joyous.  So the plan itself has even more benefits once one really does uncover all of the far-reaching tentacles of the plan.  It is, simply put, insanely genius.

But wait a minute!  What about those horrible, selfish, abusive people who would allow themselves to indiscriminately get sick over and over and then refuse to die quickly, causing the rest of us all that added expense of actual medical care?   How would this plan solve that?

Well, the GOP has truly thought of everything.  In fact, they came up with the solution months ago when the health care reform debate first started heating up.  The GOP must have already had their plan in the wings ready to go, because they leaked out the information on the ultimate fail-safe mechanism to prevent any unpatriotic citizen from abusing their plan.  In fact, they’ve been talking about it for months, they have mentioned it repeatedly at town meetings, and they even had Sarah Palin allude to its use on more than one occasion.  Surely, everyone who has been paying attention to the health care reform debate knows that the republicans came up with the solution to prevent any abuse of their plan a long time ago.

You all remember what it is, right?

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Do you remember now??

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It’s….

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DEATH PANELS!!!!!!!                                 🙂

If Sarah Palin was President Now…

President Palin is addressing a press conference in the White House press room this hour, to explain her unbroken string of vetoes on every piece of legislation to pass the congress.  The press room is staffed with reporters from the nation’s better known and internationally respected balanced news organizations which are known for their accuracy and total lack of bias:   Citizens United, Conservative Voice, Drudge Report, Fox News, Bill O’Reilly, GOPUSA, Hannity & Colmes, Human Events Online, MensNewsDaily.com, National Review, NewsMax, Patriotist, RightMarch.com, Right Wing News, Rush Limbaugh, Town Hall, Washington Times, and the Weekly Standard. Also present are members of Focus on the Family, the National Rifle Association, the John Birch Society, and the Westboro Baptist Church.

The doors to the press room are closed and guarded by elite Delta Force special forces personnel, and president Palin enters the room and walks to the podium.

Palin:  Good morning.  I have a brief opening statement.  I had moose omelets for breakfast.  They were yummy!

I will now take your questions in the order they were submitted and approved by my very loyal and very patriotic staff.

Press:  Madam president, you just vetoed the fourth bill in a row on health care reform to reach your desk.  Can you tell us why?

Palin:  Absolutely.  Just like the previous three, this bill is still too expensive  and for what?  Mandating a public warning about a health hazard??  I mean, how many times do I have to tell those socialist-liberal-communist democrats  who control the congress that sending Americans a stupid, big-government-interference warning about the need to avoid drinking their tap water, just because of a “few” stray (and unsubstantiated by the good folks at the American Nuclear Power Plant Consortium, I might add) radioactive chemicals leaking into the national water supply allegedly from the 200 new nuclear power plants I approved last year is a waste of money?

After all, it’s a well known fact that a little radioactivity is actually good for you.  I mean, com’n!  I jog all the time with my radio-active on my arm to keep me company.  And look how healthy I am!!  So, golly-gee and what the heck, what’s the problem?  And by the way, contracting building and running those plants in a mere 7 months to China was a huge money savings for the American nuclear industry. over an American company taking 10 years to build them.  How come we’re not getting credit for THAT?

Press:  The congress also passed a bill to regulate the financial markets so that a repeat of the 2007-2009 recession can’t be repeated, but you vetoed that as well.  Can you explain your reasoning?

Palin:  Absolutely.  The answer is that I haven’t the first damn clue…about why those socialist-liberal-communist democrats who control the congress even bothered.  Let’s face it:   Freedom isn’t free.  It costs money.  In America, that means dollars.  Not cents.  Just Dollars.  Lots and lots of dollars.  And who’s gonna make those dollars?  The big corporations and the very rich, that who!  They invest their dollars in America just as the colonials invested their slaves against all our enemies during the war of independence, the war of 18-whatever, and the war against the North.  And how do you ensure the continued profitability of those corporations and folks?   By allowing them to be FREE to make their profits!  After all, isn’t that why it’s called the FREE market????

Those socialist-liberal-communist democrats who control the congress just want to hurt those patriotic money-makers, so that America will fail and then they can have the Soviets come in and take us over.  And don’t tell me the Soviets are gone because I can see them walking on their beaches from my home state of Alaska.

And about that so-called recession:  America was incredibly prosperous until the socialist-liberal-communist democrats took over congress in 2007.  And the recession started in 2007, right?  See?  It’s so clear!  The socialist-liberal-communist democrats taking over caused that recession!  Think about it!

Press:  The war in Afghanistan is now in its 8th year and more Americans than ever are dying there, while Al Qaeda seems to grow stronger and bolder every day. What do you intend to do about that?

Palin:  Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is coming from “Al Qaeda in Iraq”, the same folks who helped Saddam Hussein plan 911.  And we would have defeated them and their internal base of operations at the joint Al Qaeda/Iraqi Nuclear stockpile facility had we had, say, 500,000 troops in Iraq to start with.  Now, I know this is the first time you’ve heard of that facility, but we know from a reassessment of the original 2002-2003 intelligence on Iraq that the facility exists and Al Qaeda is using it to train their operatives and suicide bombers.  We just have to find it, bomb it, and interrogate everyone within 50 miles of it with enhanced techniques to find out what Al Qaeda’s up to.

So we’re going to start building up our troop level in Iraq again, because we know the USA has the “chutzpah” to find and destroy that base, even if it takes us 100 years.   And besides, there’s a lot more oil in Iraq than Afghanistan.  So it stands to reason (I love saying that, don’cha know) that Iraq is where the money is.  Oh, yeah, and victory, too.

White House Press Secretary Hermann Goebbels III:  Thank you, Madam President Supreme Commander of the Earth.

Folks, this ends our press conference for today.  Thank you for listening quietly and please check all recording devices at the door so the nice men from the CIA can check them for germs.  If you’re a minority member, please stay in your seat until the nice agents determine how you got in here.

Bye-bye.

Constitutional Amendments We’d Love to See

As the health care reform debate rages on, with false charges and counter-charges being hurled across the political aisle, one has to wonder if anyone still remembers the force behind the most magnificent and dynamic governing document ever written by humans:  the US Constitution.  No other document has so inspired the cause of liberty, freedom, and organized representative government as this living document.  And at the core of its dynamic longevity is the ability to amend it as the passage of time and the changes of history demand, as contained in Article 5.

The US Constitution was adopted in 1787, but the first ten amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, were not adopted until four years later in 1791.  Since then, a total of twenty-seven amendments have been adopted, the last occurring as late as 1992.  Interestingly, amendment #27 was proposed as a part of the Bill of Rights in 1789, but did not finally get ratified and adopted until 1992 for a total of 74003 days from proposal to adoption.

An example of a another long-languishing proposed constitutional amendment is the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).  Originally proposed in 1923, it has stalled with 35 of the necessary 38 states’ approval since the 1970’s.  This simple amendment, which simply states “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex”, is just too radical for some, it seems.

It’s hard to understand how such a straightforward and totally fair amendment can go 86 years without achieving adoption in a nation that claims it stands for “liberty and justice for all” in its national anthem, but then, this is America, where people can find a way to put a human on the moon while concurrently spending huge amounts of money on a useless war in Southeast Asia when that money could have been better spent finding a cure for cancer.

In that light, there are many possible proposed amendments that would change all that if adopted.  The following are just a sample:

A.  Truth in Elected Representation Amendment:  No elected official can knowingly speak or write falsehoods to any US constituents about any proposed or passed legislation, or about any elected official of the US, or state, or local governments, without first prefacing his/her remarks as a “practice audition” for “Saturday Night Live”, “The Daily Show”, or any future replacement thereof.  Those elected officials that are proved by a special investigation to have passed on lies without the aforementioned preface will be forced to walk from Washington DC to New York City along the median of Interstate 95 (I-95) in daylight, backwards, naked.

B.  Minimum KSA (Intellect) Requirement of candidates for Elected Office:  No person seeking elected office in the US or any state or town can be sworn in as an elected official until and unless this person has passed a comprehensive minimum knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA) exam.  In this exam, the candidate must be able to demonstrate KSAs in the following areas:  basic math (e.g, does two plus two ever equal three?  If so, when and how?), general governmental knowledge (e.g, where does tax money REALLY come from?), and current affairs (e.g., who in congress is currently having an affair?).  If the candidate cannot pass this exam, he/she cannot be sworn into office.  In this event, his/her opponent will take office after passing the exam.  However, if this candidate also fails the exam, another election will be conducted for a total of three elections.  If, at this point, no candidate can pass the exam, the geographical locale being represented by these candidates will annexed by the closest state or town and populated by farm animals.

C.  “Rescue the Taxpayers” Amendment (also known as “Hedge Your Bets” Amendment and/or “Get a Grip” Amendment):  No bill, duly passed by the congress and signed into law by the president, can be implemented or put into effect unless it contains the following written provision in full:  This law will be evaluated for process, effectiveness, efficiency, cost/benefit, accomplishment of intended goals, waste, fraud and abuse on a continuing basis, with minimum evaluations accomplished in the following time frames after passage:  three months, six months, one year, three years and every alternate year thereafter, for the life of the law.  If at any point, the law is determined to be off-process, ineffective, inefficient, without benefit for cost, not accomplishing its intended goals, wasteful, fraudulent, or abusive, it will be summarily voided out of existence.  If it is further determined that the original authors of the law in question knew in advance that any of the aforementioned characteristics were inherent when they wrote it, they will be forced to direct traffic at the busiest traffic intersection in Washington DC during rush hour in a rainstorm, for one hundred rainstorms, backwards, naked.

These proposed constitutional amendments, if adopted, would certainly streamline our governmental processes and probably save enough taxpayer money to fund 100% health care for all, develop a cure for both cancer and terminal stupidity, eliminate our income tax, and pay off the national debt.  They would also make the USA the most effective organization in the history of the planet.

But alas, this stuff is just fantasy borne of a slow news week.  It just ain’t gonna happen…

After all, we can’t even adopt the ERA for equal justice for all under the law.  Right?

GOP Health Reform Lies Just Keep on Coming

Last night President Obama gave what could well be the speech of his life.  Perhaps the most important thing he did, besides inspiring the nation to regain the high moral character which made it possible to write the magnificent US constitution and land a man safely on the moon, was to call out the GOP scare-mongering lies about health care reform.  And he did so clearly and effectively.

Before his speech Sarah Palin wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal where she again raised the specter of so-called death panels, which ostensibly would decide which seniors would live and which would die (or be killed).  Palin is nothing more than an idiot extension of the well-financed ultra-extreme-right-wing groups that have been funding those false, lying, fear-mongering TV ads totally fabricating that the Canadian government decides health care availability for its citizens, and that seniors in the USA would be forced to change doctors, lose Medicare benefits, and have bureaucrats decide if they receive medical care or not.

As if to epitomize the GOP tactics of lies and fear to make Americans scared of what every other industrialized nation on the planet loves and enjoys, republican congressional representative Joe Wilson from South Carolina (the state that gave us republican governor Mark Sanford and his Argentinian extra-marital affair) interrupted president Obama’s statement that undocumented foreigners would not be covered under health care reform by shouting “You lie!”.  This monstrous breech of professional protocol by Wilson resulted in very strong and blunt condemnation of Wilson by both democrats and republicans alike, and probably has guaranteed that a democrat will win Wilson’s seat in 2010.

Checking the real facts revealed that the health care reform bill HR 3200, section 246 specifically forbids payments “on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States.”

It is clear that Joe Wilson and all the other GOP scare-mongers out there are the real liars.  They’re the same folks who calculate that the majority of Americans are stupid and/or lazy and/or research-challenged, and will therefore believe the seemingly informed alarmists and propagandists who are seemingly trying to warn them that democrats are trying to steal their money, security, peace of mind, and first-born.

How are they doing it?  They are using tactics learned from Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, both of whom did this in late 1920’s-early 1930’s Germany to rise to power and implement Nazism.  Hitler and Goebbels made up monstrous lies and conspiracy theories designed to scare the German people and make them angry at the existing government.  They and their cronies then repeated those lies over and over with ever-increasing volume and insistence, and ultimately made the people believe them with no proof whatsoever to back up the lies.

Fast-forward eighty years and the same heinous tactics are being used by an entire increasingly-more-right-wing political party right here in the USA.  Even moderate republicans who are actually working on health care reform in congressional committees are meekly remaining silent while their more radical party-mates scream lies at the top of their lungs.

It also turns out that according to this article Joe Wilson’s outrageous outburst was planned.  If so, then perhaps he was also party to the establishment and implementation of pre-organized protesters at town hall meetings in South Carolina and elsewhere.  Those protesters attended these meetings for the sole purpose of disrupting them and shouting down anyone who favors health care reform.

Thus, it was heartening to hear president Obama again attempt to work in a bipartisan manner last night, but also make it crystal clear in no uncertain terms that if the GOP continues its nazi-like tactics, he will call them out.  If nothing else, this will at least give the real truth a fighting chance to be heard and understood in the face of the relentless onslaught of lies and fear-mongering propaganda foisted against the American people in recent months.

Furthermore, if anyone has doubts about what health care reform really entails, he or she can check the facts himself/herself at any number of fact-verification web sites such as factcheck.org, the reality check site, and particularly Politifact.com, with its now-famous “truth-o-meter”.  But if you don’t make even the slightest effort get the true facts, and if you simply believe the fear-mongering propagandists who stand to lose their enormous health insurance profits at the expense of quality health care for all, then you truly deserve what you end up with…which may well be no health care at all.

We, the People!! will make a prediction:  Health care reform, largely as outlined in the speech last night, will pass before Christmas.  It will include a provision which forces spending cuts elsewhere in government if it is not deficit-neutral.  It will also include both a health insurance exchange, and a public option with a trigger, i.e., the public option is only implemented if the insurance companies don’t get their act together by __ date.  The GOP will try to water down the trigger mechanism to make it essentially toothless, but the dems won’t let them do that.

The 1500 insurance companies out there will simply not be able to get away from their “profits above all!” modus operandi.  Their reluctance to streamline and implement fairer pricing and fairer policies will trigger the public option, and only after they actually start to lose significant numbers of subscribers and the profits those subscribers represent, all of a sudden they will figure out how become efficient and cost effective while providing affordable quality health insurance.

After all, that’s how American capitalist competition has always worked, isn’t it?

Torturing America Part 2: “Tricky Dick” Loves His Stick

Last week it was announced that US Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed a federal prosecutor to conduct a “preliminary review” of about ten cases in which CIA interrogators and/or contractors deviated from the Justice Department legal opinions under the Bush administration, which authorized agency use specific “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs, also known as torture) such as water-boarding.

Almost immediately, former US vice-president Richard “Tricky Dick” Cheney protested loudly on a major right-wing news outlet.  He said that it was really President Obama who was after him “for political reasons”.

“Tricky Dick” has good reason to protest any investigation into the use of torture by the US government.  To a large extent, he was directly responsible for implementing the program in the CIA for using torture as a means of extracting information from detainees captured in Afghanistan since the US invasion of that country after 9-11.  Of course, these detainees were never charged, indicted or convicted, or even allowed legal counsel or any form of due process.

While “Tricky Dick” continues to insist that terror attacks had been prevented because of torture, he has never specified what imminent attacks were actually prevented.  But he continues to claim that we cannot have national security without the use of EITs.

This flies in the face of the CIA’s own Inspector General’s report of May 2004, finally released last week in heavily redacted form as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  The report concluded that “Measuring the effectiveness of EITs, however, is a more subjective process and not without some concern.”

It has been a well known fact throughout human history that the use of torture does not result in reliable information.  People will say and do anything to stop the pain of torture.  During the middle ages, for example, thousands of women were burned at the stake for being witches, which they confessed to while being tortured.

Additionally, the USA has historically and repeatedly lectured and sanctioned other nations for their internal violation of human rights and due process.  The USA was a major player in the Nuremberg trials of 1945-46 which tried and sentenced NAZI war criminals for committing acts of torture , among other crimes against humanity.  Yet now the USA was committing those same acts in the name of national security.  And because of the clear hypocrisy of “Tricky Dick’s” “do as I say, not as I do” policies, the USA has lost a huge amount of credibility in the rest of the world.

Perhaps the worst effect of “Tricky Dick’s” so-called counter-terrorism program is that the USA may no longer be taken seriously if it protests an act of torture committed against US citizens and/or soldiers who might be captured overseas.  This down side is made worse by “Tricky Dick’s” belief that he and his cohorts can ignore the law in the name of national security.  The ultra-extreme right would have us believe that in order to have national security, we have to give up civil and human rights granted to us by the US Constitution, federal and state laws, as well as over 200 years of US Supreme Court decisions defining those civil and human rights.

“Tricky Dick’s” ex-boss, G “W” Bush, could have stopped this dead in its tracks had he wanted to.  After all, as President Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here” and he had a sign right on his desk in the White House which said so.  Why “W” didn’t stop it is anyone’s guess.  Nonetheless, there is certainly enough blame to go around for the decimation of the American image in the eyes of the rest of the world.  To his credit, “W” has been largely silent since leave office.  But “Tricky Dick” never misses an opportunity to shoot off his mouth on the news programs.

Some folks can’t wait for trials to start, while others believe that President Obama’s stated policy of “not looking backwards” is the way to go, particularly in light of his efforts to pass health reform.  The problem with that policy, however, is that it propagates the concept that it’s okay to violate the law if you have a good enough (to you) reason.

That is not what the USA is supposed to be about.  This country has signed multiple international treaties and conventions in good faith, not the least of which are the Geneva Conventions, which expressly prohibit the use of torture and inhuman treatment of any kind.

The investigation is long overdue.  And if evidence indicates that certain government officials violated the law, regardless of who they are, they should be prosecuted in a criminal court that will guarantee them due process, even though they denied that same due process to their captives.

After all, isn’t that what America stands for?