Former big league pitcher, Jim Bunning, now serves as a conservative member of the Senate. He has announced that he is not going to run for re-election. But his reasoning is not the same as Senator Bayh, Democrat from Indiana, who also announced he will not run. Bayh is sick of the petty bickering, but Bunning would not have been elected if he chose to run. The differences between the two Senators is far, far wider than that.
GOP Senator Bunning has taken the role of the do-nothing conservatives to heart. He will try to stop anything that has any relationship to Democrats...anything. So, he alone stands in the way of moving forward on extending jobless benefits. He probably wouldn't be the roadblock if he were running for office. Not only his constituents are angry with him, but so are many Republicans. But the Republicans will not break their negative ranks to "out" him. Of course all Republicans are worried about the implications of his stubborn roadblock. It affects all people who are unemployed or underemployed, and that is a very, very large number. Each Republican will feel a backlash because the general public is far more sensitive and understanding than the stalwart do-nothings. Imagine a major political party so hellbent on doing nothing that they will hurt their own nation and even some of their consituents. That is a very cynical and insensitive position. But the conservatives feel they have enough negativity sympathizers on other issues to off-set this one miscue.
Almost from the beginning of his administration, I was scathingly critical of Lyndon Johnson's horrible policies in Vietnam. Not only was Johnson insensitive to the horrors he was raining down on innocent Vietnamese people who wanted nothing more than a unified nation and the vote that was promised them. They would have voted overwhelmingly for Ho Chi Minh, but the U.S. broke the agreement. Today, with U.S. forces out of Vietnam, that nation is rebuilding, not bothering its neighbors, and is fast becoming a vacation destination for Americans, Europeans, etc. But Johnson, his Secty. of Defense, and his horrible generals did not have to face the effects that Agent Orange had on babies and adults.
On Wednesday, the BBC broke a story about what is happening in Fallujah, Iraq. The U.S. focused its great might on that Sunni stronghold. The international community was openly critical of the U.S. for its tactics and its use of depleted uranium shells and white phosphorous. Today, the BBC filmed and reported from Fallujah's hospital. As many as 13 times the normal birth defects have been reported. And these defects are of the most horrible nature. A baby born with 3 heads, babies born with one eye in the middle of their forehead, babies born with an eye and a nose in the middle of their forehead and struggling to gasp for breath, brain damage, one leg, one arm, three legs, grotesquely distorted spines, and the list goes on. The doctors at the hospital blame the U.S. weaponry and related attacks.
The forces most dangerous and destructive to the United States are not from the Middle East or south of the Rio Grande or anywhere outside of the confines of our own nation and our own people. And hypocrisy is their religion. The height of hypocrisy occurs when the super-patriots, the Founding-Fathers-citing, democracy-touting, Bible-thumping Americans morph into their true selfish, crass and bigoted selves. Let's start with some quotes to clarify. How about beginning with one of their "macho" heroes...
"I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves." -John Wayne.
It is time to call the bluff of all the partisan posers, the greed mongers, and those who simply do not know what they are talking about when it comes to health care reform.
Health care reform is needed. It is absolutely true that if this reform does not take place very soon, the health care and insurance industries are going to drain the United States dry. We cannot sustain the inhumane way we treat people in need of health care -- financially, medically, or morally. We stand alone among industrial nations in our horrendous health care system, skewed in favor of the wealthy and those who can afford the expensive health care premiums. Every average American lives with the fear of bankruptcy from health care costs or lack of adequate health care. People are dying in huge numbers today in America for lack of adequate health care. People are losing their homes and/or filing for bankruptcy every day because of our predatory health care and insurance greed. About 50 million Americans have no health care insurance at all. Emergency rooms in hospitals are treating people who wait until the last minute for treatment because they do not have coverage to help them get ongoing, regular health screenings. ER personnel are not trained for this, and people are dying prematurely because they wait too long. This is the health care scenario of a Third World nation.
Looking through almost 2,000 pages of a proposed Congressional health care bill is arduous. When it is put together like a jigsaw puzzle to satisfy every self-aggrandizing Congressperson, it is a nightmare. It is not to be believed how these small minds in Congress feather their own nest. The current bill is a hodge-podge. But let me tell you something surprising: this bill could have been written by a Republican dominated Congress. In fact, there are major portions of this bill that include provisions and wording that mimic past feeble attempts by Republicans to reform health care. This bill could have been introduced by Republicans in Congress and the GOP Party would have supported it eagerly.
Such is the way Congress makes sausage that is called legislation. It is a lie, a fraud, a deception to call this bill only a Democrat one. Republicans could have written it. And many Democrats are opposed to it. This bill has been wrongly portrayed as a Democrats bill by a lazy, uninformed media. If you dig back to some wordings of Republican suggestions from the 1980s you will find very similar wording in the current bill. The difference: the Republicans do not want anything to pass in this Congress and the liturgy they adhere to is wrapped around one word: no. The GOP sees the failure of health care reform as their ticket to success in the November elections. The nation and its people be damned.
It was with some reluctance that I agreed to write this blog when approached about it. My first response was to turn it down. Since I ultimately did agree, I have resigned myself to its limitations and its "environment." I have to swallow a couple times to be placed in the blogosphere amid the comments.
Blogs are not my thing. Most on-line material has to be consumed very carefully. People can write anything in a blog, as you are probably clearly aware, and even present things as true that are patently false. Today's media environment is atrocious, and professional standards are out the window.
As I mentioned from Day One of the American invasion of Iraq, it is doomed. I said then and I repeat it now: 1) We will be seen as just another, in a long line, of colonialist powers in the Middle East; 2) You cannot foist democracy on a nation or culture that has no history or likeness of it, especially something as culturally insensitive as AMERICAN democracy; 3) A civil war is inevitable in a place that has no history of united nationhood like Iraq; there will be at least 3 splinter groups that will strongly resist nationhood. Iraq is not a nation, and in the true sense of the word, never was a nation.
To quote an intellectual seer from Alaska: "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig."
The misplaced focus on immigration is one of seeing working people shooting themselves in the foot by blaming Mexicans and other Hispanic immigrants for unemployment. What a waste of effort by the common American.
Why do you suppose American auto manufacturers and other big corporations cannot provide enough jobs for American workers? Greed! Look to Germany. Vokswagen, Mercedes, etc. all have wonderfully paying jobs, strong labor unions, and they do not use their greed to look for slave labor plants in China, India, Mexico, etc. Look again to Germany where workers have marvelously guaranteed wages, long vacations, great retirement benefits, national health insurance, and every poll taken shows Germans to be healthier, happier, and living longer than Americans. We could have this in the United States if we did not build our economy on industrial greed.
It is truly amazing that any legislation gets done in today's horrid Congressional climate. Had President Obama taken the bull by the horns and led the march toward health care reform, we would have had a less cluttered and compromised bill. HOWEVER it is nothing short of an historical accomplishment that Obama was able to get this major legislation passed in the aftermath of the mess left to him by Bush, and the irrationally contentious legislature.
After 100 years of trying, including strong efforts by Republican Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Richard Nixon and others, health care reform has finally come to a place where legislation is near. There is no celebrating. We leave the celebrations and slander to the extremes of the political spectrum. But there is more hope today than there was a short while back. This is a tribute to President Obama. His strength and will withstood a scandalous onslaught of lies, deceptions, threats, lobbying, scandal, and organized mayhem by right-wing demagogues. The huge corporations that poured hundreds of millions of dollars into lobbying against health care reform underestimated the intelligence, will, and principle of the current president. He was not as easily defeated as were all the past presidents who tried and failed at health care reform. President Barack Obama, I salute you.
OK, we get it. The right-wing in American politics was opposed to the health care reform bill. They have been good little puppets for big corporations who realize ungodly profits off the backs of sick people or those who try to protect themselves from sickness. But enough is enough.
The United States has a history and tradition of hearty debate on issues. There was spirited debate that came forth from the right-wing of William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater, and other conservatives prior to the administration of Ronald Reagan. Since then, however, things have become decidedly more contentious, immature, violent, and very threatening to the fabric of our democracy. Debate has been replaced by in-your-face negativity that includes lies, deceptions, insinuations, polarization, and now even violence.
There seems to have developed a dedication by some people to labeling persons who sexually abuse children or adults as "sexual predators." While this labeling is thought by some to weigh down such people with a label that will forever keep them from integrating back into society, others almost take delight in attaching the word "predator" to them forever. That also means in some states that you are tracked for the rest of your life, limiting where you may live and making sure that your past abuse is forever known to as many people as possible. This blog post is not about how this abuse should be enforced.
AT LONG LAST the sex abuse and pedophilia so rampant in the Roman Catholic Church for many years has been brought to light. While we pussy-footed around this widespread abuse for generations, thousands and thousands of children were terribly abused sexually by priests. The Roman Catholic Church turned a blind eye to the abuse. Priests who committed these crimes were too often simply moved to a different parish or diocese. Yes, bishops and archbishops knew of the abuse. Yes, they treated this abuse very differently when perpetrated by priests than done by other members of society.
As you may know, all during the George W. Bush administration the White House never missed an opportunity to provide his buddies in the military-industrial empire with a hand-out. And to see that they got plenty, he provided the war in Iraq. Of course he lied to get us to invade, but no matter, the corporations got their money and contracts [or some did not even need contracts].
So, George Bush, who escaped going to Vietnam because his father pulled strings, sent hundreds of thousands of American men and women to fight a war of his making in Iraq. Testimony in Britain by Members of Parliament and staff people close to Prime Minister Tony Blair, have testified that Bush had