Michele Bachmann’s Departure: The Good & the Bad

In the wee hours of this morning (Wednesday, May 29th, 2013), Michele Bachmann the republican congresswoman from Minnesota’s 6th district since January 2007, announced via a  15-minute video posted (in the wee hours of the morning) on her web site that she won’t run for re-election in November 2014.  That’s only 16 short months away.

She stated in her video that none of the difficulties she has encountered in the recent past had ANY impact on her decision.  Nope.  None of those issues,  such as the pasting she got in her bid for the GOP presidential nomination, or the criticism of her endless inaccurate historical remarks, or the investigations she had to endure regarding shady campaign operations, or her total loss of mainstream credibility, or her claim that homosexuality is a “choice” that can be cured if gays will simply submit to her and her husband’s clinic for “prayer therapy”, or that the founding fathers abolished slavery, or that the FDA-approved HPV vaccine causes metal retardation…or the fact that she has the highest “Liar, Liar, Pants-on-Fire!” rating of anyone on politifact.com .  Check it out.  It’s well worth the click!

Nope.  She based her decision no to run, so she says, solely on the fact that the US Constitution’s 22nd amendment limits the president to two terms, or eight years of service.  Thus, Bachmann justifies her decision on the basis of an amendment that does not apply to her as a congresswoman.

Actually, the idea of term limits for congress seems particularly attractive in this hyper-partisan times.  But it doesn’t exist yet, Michele.

Bachmann is an attractive woman who studied tax law in college and became a tax attorney.  She became opposed to the American income tax code that is now more than 80,000 pages of lobbyist- and special-interest-promoted special exemptions.  However, she chose the wrong road to correct the problem.   For instance, instead of blaming GW Bush’s out-of-control spending on two unfunded wars and idiotic tax breaks for the rich when she was elected. she instead decided to eliminate as much government.  That’s akin to the idea that if your child gets his clothes dirty while playing, we should ban all clothes and/or all playing.

Bachmann’s decision  o not run is one of those rare actions that causes  mixed feelings.

From the republican perspective, the credit/debit balance probably looks something like this:

On the minus side:  Bachmann, was a lightening rod for ultra-extremist-religious-right-fundamentalist conservative issues, such as imprinting the bible verbatim onto the government.  She was a founder of the Tea Party Caucus in the US House of Representatives, and believes that you don’t need proof or facts…only faith…to back your statements.  She was very successful in galvanizing the ultra-extremist right-wing base of what used to be the republican party.  But she repelled most mainstream republicans and almost all independents and undecided voters.  At election time, it was a big liability that the republican party could do without, and their mostly invisible leadership knew it.

On the plus side:  Bachmann was relentless in keeping the extreme right wing republican base intact..  She reinforced the concept that if you say something often enough or in front of the right audience (mostly EXTREME right), you’ll gain brownie points and increase your influence within the internal workings of the GOP.  The base LOVED her and hung on her every word.

Interestingly, the democrats have similar mixed feelings about Bachmann’s planned departure, kind of in reverse.  On the plus side, they see at least SOME possibility that a democrat can win her seat in 2014,  After all, she barely won re-election in November 2012.  Her opponent in that race claims he will run again for the seat in 2014.  The hope is that with Bachmann gone, the democrat will have an easier time of it.  Additionally, Bachmann was a pain in the ass congresswoman who would NEVER compromise on ANYTHING with congressional democrats.  As a popular tea party lunatic, she brought all the congressional tea party loonies together.  Good riddance, those democrats who were closest to her say.

In the minus column for democrats is that once she’s gone, they can no longer use her frequent idiot statements of untrue fantasy about the world around us to win support of the indecided voter.  With her  regularly spouted idiotic statements no longer reverberating, the dems will have to settle for the less frequent idiotic statements and proclamations of other less verbose congressional tea party conservatives for their political ammo.  Without Michele’s wide-eyed diatribes on how the tooth fairy hates Obama, and in the process her casting a witch’s shadow on the credibility of the GOP, the dems will have that much less to demonstrate why the GOP is dangerous for the USA.

But the worst result of her departure is this:  We, the PEOPLE!! won’t have her endless fodder to write about.

And that’s a real loss.  🙂

Angelina Jolie: Proving GOP’s Healthcare Ideas Kill People

Over the past two weeks, the GOP-controlled US House of Representatives began hearings on the non-issue of the non-coverup regarding Benghazi.  Additionally, we learned of the IRS targeting of tea Party groups seeking Tax-Exempt (TE) status, and witnessed the revelation that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) wiretapped phones of the Associated Press (AP) regarding a national security leak of secret information.  Like the piranhas they are, the GOP smelled blood in the water.

Oh, and the stock market kept hitting new high points as if it was a nympho hooker in a a multiple orgasm contest (more on the stock market later).

The House of representatives also scheduled a vote to repeal Obamacare for the 37th time!!

Your American taxpayer tax dollars at work, courtesy of the “reduce spending” GOP.  🙂

But perhaps most significant for the future health and welfare of all Americans was Angelina Jolie‘s announcement yesterday that she had a double mastectomy in February as a preventative measure to reduce her extremely high risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer, which killed her own mother.  Jolie made the decision to undergo the preventative procedure after undergoing a genetic test for a defective form of a pair of genes called BRCA 1 and BRCA 2.  People with inherited defective BRCA 1 genes have an 87% risk of developing breast cancer, which is extremely high.  By undergoing the double mastectomy, Jolie reduced her risk of contracting breast cancer to under 5%.

Jolie bravely decided to go public with this information in an Op-Ed in the New York Times the day before yesterday in an effort to save lives.  It is a riveting narrative in her own words of what she went through and why.  And she also reveals some extremely significant facts that make clear that all women are not equal under the present for-profit health insurance system in the USA.  These facts also demonstrate how the monopolies run and nurtured by big corporations do not care who lives and who dies, as long as the profits keep rolling in.  This is about as close to conservative ideology as one can get.

It turns out that the genetic test that Angelina Jolie submitted to is a blood test to determine whether or no one’s BRCA 1 and/or BRAC2 genes are normal or defective.  The test is simple, but the cost is still $4000 per exam.  The reason for the outrageous cost is that only one company has the patent to conduct the test on the BRCA 1 & 2 gene.  That company is Myriad Genetics.  The patent they hold has been legally challenged by, among others, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and is now in the US Supreme Court awaiting a decision.

What’s worse is that before Obamacare, many (if not most) health insurance companies would not cover the cost of this exam because it was considered “medically unnecessary” as most preventatives were.  Obamacare has forced this companies to cover preventative services, much to the opposition of the republican party.  After all, the GOP doesn’t believe that anyone unable to fork over $4000 to the monopolistic company which presently owns the test patent should be getting “free stuff”.  They also believe that the free market should be allowed to operate without government regulation or interference of any kind.  They see nothing wrong with Myriad Genetics patenting a blood test which probably costs perhaps $50 dollars to collect the blood sample and process the results, but charges $4000, for a profit of $3950 per test.

Poor people obviously cannot afford the test.  But who wants poor people living next door, anyway?  And besides, poor people don’t buy a lot of consumer products from rich people because the poor can’t afford that stuff.  So who needs poor people anyway? They don’t even vote republican!

The truth is that republicans and their lunatic supporters are panicking over the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016.  Let’s face it:  The continued witch-hunt over Benghazi is nothing more than an extremely thinly-veiled attempt to find something…ANYTHING…that they can use against her in 2016.  Their only problem is timing.  By 2016, this is going to be old news.  Unless they can uncover premeditated criminal activity and/or gross negligence on Clinton’s part, it is going to play out like their prediction that the stock market would crash if Obama won a second term.  And speaking of the stock market…

The GOP screamed repeatedly during the 2012 presidential election that big business and the economy would tank if Obama was re-elected.  Couple that with the age-old advice about selling off your stocks in May.  Now look at the stock market, which keeps banging out new high records day after day.  Now ask the GOP to answer the following question:

WTF??????     🙂

 

 

Meanwhile, Back at the ol’ Sequester…

Over the past two weeks the world bore witness to the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombings, the death of one bomber and the capture of another.  Additionally, the world witnessed the collapse of a known defective factory complex in Bangladesh which killed more than 300 and perhaps as many as 500 workers, simply and obscenely because the factory owners refused to heed the clear warnings by government inspectors to close the building, and instead ordered their employees to show up for work.

These and other sudden shocks to the global human psyche over the past two weeks diverted attention away from more mundane issues such as the insane budget sequester that the USA committed upon itself.  it seems that the (former) “government of the people” is now largely controlled by the same interests that are responsible for the Bangladesh disaster…the very rich and very powerful capitalist for-profit corporate folks.

Capitalism, properly regulated, is a very good economic system with some very desirable characteristics.  But unregulated/unbridled capitalism has the potential to create very wealthy and powerful owners and very impoverished, endangered and abused workers.  Capitalism alone, unconcerned with safety inspections, is responsible for the factory collapse in Bangladesh and the resulting deaths.

The GOP, having been kidnapped by the Tea Party, espouses the concept that the more breaks and perks they give to the very wealthy and powerful, the better off everyone will be.  Thus, the GOP refuses to allow taxes to rise on the very wealthy and powerful, not even to the point that their percentage of tax paid would equal that of the average middle-class wage earner.  In a way, the GOP is correct:  The more they protect the very wealthy and powerful from a tax increase, the better off the GOP and its elected officials will be.  And why?

Because the very wealthy and powerful repay their GOP minions with huge political  campaign contributions, which they then get to write off their taxes as a business expense, further decreasing their tax burden!

Armed with this knowledge of basic math, one can understand (and still disagree with) the stubborn “no more taxes on the very wealthy and powerful” stance that the GOP stands by, which resulted in the sequester.   More precisely, $85.4 billion in across-the-board meat-cleaver budget cuts went into effect in March, but weren’t really felt by anybody until April.  And during that interim, the GOP kept claiming that no one would even notice the cuts.  They gloated about their victory in reducing government spending.  That is, until the GOP started to suffer themselves, or more precisely, their very wealthy and powerful masters started to suffer because of sequestration.

You see, the very wealthy and powerful frequently fly.  They need to attend meetings in the Cayman Islands (where the bulk of their money lives) and elsewhere, after all.   Some own their own corporate jets, while others are perfectly content to fly commercial airlines (first-class, of course;  however, it is a myth that first-class that passengers arrive at their destinations sooner than passengers in coach, but don’t tell them!).  Nonetheless, whether in corporate jets or commercial airliners, ALL planes flying in the US National Airspace System must be controlled and kept safe by Air Traffic Controllers, who are generally staffed to traffic demands.

The proper number of Air Traffic Controllers working to keep all those airplanes full of the very wealthy and powerful safely separated was reduced because of sequestration, which forced a 10% reduction in Air traffic Controller staffing nationwide.  That translated roughly into a 10% drop in airspace capacity on each air route.  This caused 10% of aircraft to be delayed as demand increased at 8am.  That multiplied throughout the day until during afternoon or evening rushes, the delays were now be 3 hours or more at busy airports.  Three hour delays are unacceptable to the very wealthy and powerful.

The very wealthy and powerful duly complained to their GOP (and even some democrat) congresspeople.  In a bizarre act of bipartisanship, congress overwhelmingly passed legislation granting the US Secretary of Transportation the power to restore full funding to end the air traffic controller furloughs so that the very wealthy and powerful could return to their normal schedules and flight arrival times.  Nice.

Of course, this primarily benefited the frequently flying very wealthy and powerful and their congressional tea baggers, who astutely left Washington DC immediately after passing this excuse for legislation.  They had no concern for, nor did they fix, the locked-out project Head Start kids, or the unemployed, or seniors dependent upon “Meals on Wheels” or countless other “people” programs that the very wealthy and powerful and their congressional puppets have no use for.

After all, a poor, destitute, hungry unemployed senior or a pre-schooler can’t possibly provide them anything like the political campaign contributions of gazillions of dollars, endlessly flowing from the very rich and powerful like a supercharged sewer pipe on steroids during a flood.  🙁