One born every day

I’m going political again, so look away now.

This morning on NPR, there was a good story on Wisconsin voters. As you know, Wisconsin has been a hotbed of labor controversy, thanks to Gov Walker. You would expect the group of four union voters to all vote Democrat this year. Wouldn’t you?

One of the people they interviewed was a prison guard. He had many interesting points, and while he was discussing his friends reaction to his complaints about Walker’s anti-union legislation, they told him to get another job. That was especially stupid, given the current economic situation. 

Then came the clincher. When asked about his voting tendency this November, he said that he didn’t like Obama because of the Affordable Care Act. What he said was that he liked the insurance that he got through his employer (the state of Wisconsin) and that nationalized health care would force him to change.

BZZZZZZT!

Nope, sorry, not true. The Affordable Care Act only says that you must purchase health insurance or pay a penalty. It doesn’t specify which company you choose, but if you don’t have insurance, your state will give you some low-cost options through an insurance exchange. (Although many Republican-controlled states like Wisconsin are dragging their heels hoping that a Republican President will repeal the law.) It also will subsidize your insurance if your income is below a certain level. It also guarantees the availability to all of insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions, and extends the age up to 25 when children will have to get their own insurance.

If your employer-provided insurance meets minimum standards (state insurances do!), then nothing will change for you.

Furthermore, this Act ensures that you won’t be denied treatment in an emergency (for lack of insurance) and that if a formerly uninsured person is hospitalized in an emergency, neither the government or charities will be called on to pay for it. What is wrong with that? It saves money. The insurance companies benefit from increased subscription, and the government pays out less. It also benefits from the taxation of increased profits from the insurers.

Who doesn’t benefit? The scroungers without insurance, who would rather the government paid for their emergency health care than pay for insurance. They can still do this by paying the penalty for not having insurance. Small employers? Small employers are only required to provide insurance if they have 50 or more employees, and chances are good that they already do. There are tax incentives to do so, and it is a good benefit to offer prospective employees. Besides, group plans are more efficient and cost less. The employer can also take the premiums directly out of their employers’ paychecks, in some cases reduce their exposure to tax.

What’s not to like? Yes, it could be better, and moves some of the Medicare/Medicaid burden to the States. It also calls for $716 billion in savings over 10 years, but invests $350 million to help stop Medicare fraud, which incidentally costs $60 billion a year – that’s $600 billion over 10 years. Even if they can stop half of it (and make some efficiency savings), they can make the Act cost neutral, which is good for all of us. That is certainly better than Ryan’s voucher plan, that will result in direct costs to seniors if they require anything above what the coverage provides (i.e. if the prices go up). And who determines what those nominal prices are? The government. Now that sounds like the death panels that the Republicans are so afraid of with the Affordable Care Act.

Sometimes I just want to beat my head against a brick wall.

 

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Overtly political

I don’t normally go all political on you, but sometimes I’ve just got to let it out. Sorry, but you are free to not read it. But maybe you should.

I shouldn’t listen to the news.

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Every morning I am awoken my local NPR affiliate for their excellent Morning Edition program. (It isn’t as good as the BBC’s Today Programme, but as I’m no longer in the UK, and don’t wish to get up at 1 am to listen, this is a reasonable alternative.

But I really shouldn’t listen to the news.

Every day they interview some idiot. I didn’t realize there were so many out there. Today, they interviewed two.

Their story was about the Mississippi primary. Both idiots proclaimed anti-Obama “facts.”

1) Obama is not legally eligible to be President. “The Constitution says that his father must be born in the US.” Sorry, that just plain isn’t true. Firstly, he was born in Hawaii, and can produce a legal birth certificate to prove it. His mother was American (born in Kansas), and his father was Kenyan. Now that legal document is just as legal as any birth certificate you or I could produce for ourselves. The fact that his parents divorced not long after he was born, and his mother married an Indonesian is irrelevant. Secondly, The Constitution does NOT say that his father has to be born in the US or even an American citizen. It says only that the President must be born in the US, which he was. (That ruled out Henry Kissinger and Arnold Schwarzenegger.)

2) Obama is not a Christian. To begin with, there is nothing in the Constitution saying that the President must be Christian. Although founded on Christian principles, our forefathers separated the state from religion of all types. (First Amendment) Also, many of those same founding fathers weren’t Christian themselves. Some were atheists, theosophists, agnostics, and though many were tied in some way to a Christian church, they did not practice, other than perhaps by being cajoled by their wives to attend church on Sunday. (I can’t remember who that was – perhaps Washington or Jefferson – I don’t have time to look it up.) Therefore, it shouldn’t matter. America prides itself on being inclusive … well, at least it used to … except if you were black. Thanks to Malcolm X and others, Islam is considered a “black” religion, and our racist history means that’s bad. We’ve tarred Islam with a radical, fanatical brush. Ignore the fact that there are plenty of religious Christian fanatics out there who are just as bad. Hitler was a Catholic. Need I say more? What about the Crusades? The Inquisition?

Republicans have entered the age of the new inquisition, where you are judged by how much you bash the bible … and many of their candidates are hypocrites. Gingrich is Catholic, but on his third wife. (Shouldn’t he be excommunicated?) Santorum is staunchly Pro-Life, yet his own wife had an abortion. (All of them seem to be Pro-Death at the same time.) Romney, well, he is Mormon. There’s nothing wrong with that (maybe that’s where Newt should be!), but that’s one reason why his own (heavily Christian) party doesn’t trust him to lead them to the election. He’s rich, like every other President – nothing new. And while Governor of a very liberal state, he passed Romneycare, which is the archetype for Obamacare: Socialist! Evil!

Oh, by the way, Jesus was socialist/communist. Well, it hadn’t been invented yet. However, he stipulated that his disciples give up all their worldly goods and live on the charity of the communities where they preached. They pooled together their resources for the benefit of their circle, taking no more than they needed, giving the rest back to those who listened to the Word. If that isn’t pure Communism, I don’t know what is.

But I digress …

President Obama’s father was a non-practicing Muslim/Atheist and his mother was a non-practicing Christian. His stepfather was probably also Muslim, being Indonesian, but his family didn’t practice religion at all. So his middle name is Hussein. What does that mean? He didn’t choose it himself. He has chosen to be baptized into the Christian church (which would be heretical for a Muslim), goes to church on Sundays, and does everything in a Christian way, perhaps in a more Christian spirit than his opponents in Congress.

As I said above, however, I doesn’t matter what religion he is. That freedom is enshrined in the Constitution.

What irked me out of my slumber this morning was that the interviewer didn’t challenge the idiots, although he was quick to dispute the veracity of their statements in his report. Dammit, go after them. Don’t be a limp, err, noodle!

I would classify myself as a Constitutionalist, yet those who preach that “faith” often don’t have a clue what is in it, just like many Christians don’t have a clue what is in the Bible. Of course, they believe that being liberal (like Jesus) is a sin and that the world is only about 6000 years old, and that we are all descendants of Adam and Eve who bore three sons. Ewwww! They must have had sex with their Mother to procreate. Who else was there? Apes? Sheep? We know Cain found a woman elsewhere. Where did she come from? Was she their … gulp … long lost sister. Ewwwww!

I’ve done it again. I’ve digressed, and this time I’ve put my silly hat on. Time to stop.

I’m going to go find a wall to bang my head on.

[/rant]