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Friday, June 29, 2012

Supreme Court upholds majority of Obamacare…and just in time

The Affordable Health Care Act has been recognized by the Supreme Court as being constitutional.  The one factor not upheld was requirements of Medicaid expansion within the states.  The Court basically ruled that this involved too many conditions that seemed unreasonable to demand.  Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the majority but took the position that the mandate requiring all Americans to have health insurance is a tax, contrary to the President.


Demonstrators for Obamacare

And the reason this decision comes “just in time” is a new report by Families USA confirming that 26,000 Americans die prematurely each year because they don’t have health insurance.  That breaks down to 500 per week, 2,175 each month.  For those of us paying dearly for our insurance coverage, and who are tired of supporting those who elect not to have health insurance, Obamacare rectifies this by making it affordable for this group.

The law’s mandate to buy health insurance was confirmed, but because the fine against those who do not comply is administered by the IRS, Roberts deemed it a tax.  Nancy Pelosi, Obama’s staunchest supporter of the legislation said you can call it anything you want to now that the law is upheld.  Republicans say they will work vigorously to repeal Obamacare and this may pass the House but most analysts say it will never get out of the Senate.

If the Supremes had no other reason to uphold the law, the 26,000 annual premature deaths would be reason enough, although this has no legal grounds.  What the figure does establish is the depth of crisis this nation is in when it comes to providing affordable healthcare to all its citizens.  Another staunch supporter of The Affordable Healthcare Act since it passed is Ron Pollack, Executive Director Families USA.  He said:  

"The fact remains that for the millions of Americans without health coverage, only the Affordable Care offers the promise of access to affordable coverage and to a longer and healthier life."

In the 26,000, above, every state is affected, Vermont with the fewest deaths and California with the most.  The numbers for those without health insurance have a broad range from 21 million to 50 million, and the figure being thrown around most recently is 30 million.  Apparently included in this aggregation is 9.7 million who are not citizens.  In addition to these numbers, an additional study reports that another 38 million have inadequate health insurance.    

Other points in the Families USA Report are:

“…in the past 2 years, uninsured women older than 50 were half as likely as insured women to get mammograms.”

“Low-income uninsured adults were 5 times less likely to get screened for colon cancer in the past 5 years compared to insured adults.”

“Cancer patients without insurance are five times more likely to delay or even skip treatment because of the cost.”

“…uninsured adults are more often diagnosed with advanced stage disease and they are 25% more likely to die prematurely than those with private insurance.”


Stage 4 kidney cancer

As an example of the latter, Frederick and Regina Holliday had no health insurance for 16 years while working multiple jobs part time.  They had 2 small children and paid all the medical bills out of their pocket.  They did not go to the doctor until it was, as they described it, “…couldn’t get out of bed sick.”  Another obstacle for affordable coverage was Frederick’s pre-existing condition of a urinary tract stricture.  In 2008, things started to change.

Regina got a job but they could only afford health insurance for her.  Then Fred got a full time job teaching and they had family coverage.  But it was then that Frederick was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer which had metastasized to his stomach, bones and lungs.  Several months later he died at age 39.  His wife remarked:

“I believe that if my husband had consistent health care during his adult life he would still be alive today,”

Enough said?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It’s time to reboot the NRA

The National Rifle association (NRA) has been around since 1871 and will no doubt be here for at least a few more years.  It started as a reasonable organization, founded for the purpose of teaching marksmanship and gun safety.  It has evolved into a gang of unreasonable lunatics demanding that anyone should be able to own a gun and take it anywhere they want to.  Led by the head wacko Wayne LaPierre, it has power most of us can’t comprehend.


Charlton Heston, one of the original NRA kooks

As a recent example, the NRA has joined up with the GOP in the drive for contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder re. Fast and Furious.  They are pressuring Democrats now to join Republicans in the fight to make Holder the first sitting cabinet member to receive such a charge.  Whatever the outcome to Fast and Furious, it is not about the issue but rather the fact that this group of fanatics can bring down such pressure on Congress.

The time has come to stop this nonsense.  I have been reporting on gun violence by documenting the monthly numbers of U.S. shootings, those killed, and those wounded since March.  There was a 37.5 percent increase in gun violence in April over March and another 30.4 percent in May.  June looks to be coming in with another increase and one wonders just how long this country will put up with this before taking some kind of action on gun control.

This has to start by eliminating the power of the NRA that is conducive to the rights of sane gun owners—yes, there are some of those out there—but restrictive of this radical philosophy of guns for everyone, everywhere.  It is time to reboot the NRA.  The term means restart, begin again, in order to correct errors that have occurred.  Precisely what this out of control bunch of extremists needs and the process of change must start soon or more will die from guns.

The excellent gun control blog, Common Gunsense, recently posted an article on the fact that guns are now responsible for raging fires in Utah and Colorado.  It is the result of target shooting, a right that the NRA demands for its members, your rights be damned if it starts a blaze that destroys homes and precious forests.  CG says the NRA doesn’t trust government, adding:

“The NRA wants the minority of folks who own guns and carry guns to determine public safety rather than the people who are actually charged with doing so for the good of our communities.”

Gun control today
Richard Aborn of the Washington Post made this statement, “The debate about guns in the United States has always been between David and Goliath. Last year, the gun lobby outspent advocates of gun control by 11 to 1, or $2.9 million vs. $260,000.”  The NRA is well known for spending 46 percent of donations on fundraising, only 54 percent on charitable efforts while most major 501(c) charities spend 75 percent on the latter.

Aborn continues, “…the United States leads its post-industrial peers with an average of eight times as many annual deaths as a result of gun violence.”  He cites a decrease in gun control support in the United States, comparing this at a level of 52 percent in 1994 with a recent November Gallup poll indicating it is currently only at 1 percent.  The apathy is likely to continue as long as millions of Americans are out of work and losing their homes.

With those figures in mind, the author charges all of us with three factors in taking back control of guns:

Number one, don’t believe it; the battle against violent crime has not been won.  “More Americans were killed by gun violence last year than all American troops who have been killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.”

Two, “Ninety percent of gun owners support reasoned measures to keep guns from criminals and the mentally unbalanced, bipartisan polls show.”  Gun control and gun rights groups must come to an understanding.

Three, the NRA has successfully worked to prevent government funding for scientific research on the effectiveness of gun control measures.  Aborn says we should look at other countries for the plunging number of gun deaths with reasonable gun control.  You can see an example in my recent post, Canada laws prove that gun control works.”

Numbers don’t lie and my monthly documentation of gun violence should be a wake up call for all of us, especially those out there I call the “Apathetics.”  You have to care and somehow make a contribution to efforts that put a reasonable control on who owns guns and just where they are allowed.  If not, many of you could be one of my future statistics.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

U.S. Supreme Court rules on Arizona immigration law SB-1070…It’s a tie

Well, not exactly.  Although Arizona’s bungling Gov. Jan Brewer claimed victory, here’s what that win will entail.  Yes, Arizona can now require the police to determine if a person is a legal resident, if the individual is being stopped for some other violation of the law.  The cops will have to be very careful about this since the feds will be watching closely for racial profiling.  In all likelihood, if the person has no criminal record, ICE will not accept them for deportation.

And now, following the Supreme Court ruling, the feds rescinded Arizona’s 287G privileges, meaning, law enforcement cannot use the data system to verify illegal immigration, to confirm the status of people that have been stopped.  Broiling Brewer claims that she has checked and found that Arizona is the only state denied this data check. 

The reason the feds give, according to ColorLines, “…the program was not useful in states that have adopted immigration enforcement laws like SB1070.”  The feds will do the same in other states where SB-1070 type laws are in effect.

Blundering Brewer wags her finger again
So let’s look at this fiasco from a practical standpoint.  The state of Arizona has spent millions of dollars—supposedly donated money—and this comatose governor says she and the state are victorious when most of the illegal immigrants  they turn over to ICE will be released and in the process the state will most likely end up with several cases of racial profiling filed by the feds.  In other words, it is business like it was before this whole botched situation started.

It’s Arizona at its best, and the nation has once again had the opportunity to look at the state with disdain with the ridicule soon to begin.  I don’t know about you other progressives out there, but I have had enough and I hope, if we aren’t all banded together by now, the push will start soon to bring out the vote in November and get rid of as many of these conservative radicals as we can.

You can see a list of progressive websites here, and I recommend that you regularly follow Arizona Progress Action for the latest on what is happening on the left.  These posts are directed primarily at Arizona’s problems with an out of touch government and are specifically for the progressive reader.  You can also get involved through the Obama/Biden website for Arizona here.  I urge you to study all these sites for the best way you can participate for the Nov. election.

And I will leave you with these statistics re. popularity ratings in the great state of Arizona.  Public Policy Polling did a recent study to determine just who was the “supremist” in the state between Obama and Brewer.  President Obama came out on top with a 45 percent favorable, compared to the state’s own governor Jan Brewer with 43 percent favorable.  Agreed, it was before the SB-1070 decision but, come on, even two points at that time are an indication Arizona is in trouble.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Militia fanatics still a real threat to this country

Just over a week ago, a leader of an Alaska militia group and one of his peons were judged guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, also having weapons in a plot to kill government officials and law enforcement officers, according to the Chicago Tribune.  Prosecutors indicated that this was yet another example of anti-government action by these radical groups in the last few years.  I did a post on this fanaticism back in May, receiving several scathing comments.

Norm Olson, well-known
Alaska militiaman
I just Googled “U.S. militia groups 2012” and found a startling number of warnings by major news sources that the trend is still very much alive and growing.  Headlines like, “Hate groups, citizen militias surge in U.S.” and “Anti-government ‘sovereign movement’ on the rise in U.S.,” as an example.  The scary part is that in the comments from my last post on this issue, most of those responding thought this militia nonsense was perfectly OK.

There is a site that lists militias by state, here, if you are interested.  As you will see they are situated throughout the country and, God forbid, a scenario where these wackos got organized across state lines and started making trouble as a national force.  This is not fantasy, it is probability that is well substantiated by the actions of those in the above Alaska incident and when blueprinted out could include the potential attempt to take over the U.S. government by these lunatics.

Perhaps one of the most recent examples of a militia threat that could come to fruition was Arizona’s own J.T. Ready who was known as a neo-Nazi, member of the National Socialist Movement (NSM), and founder and head of the U.S. Border Guard, an Arizona militia.  Although Ready focused his hate primarily on illegal immigrants, his racist tendencies could have boiled over into other pursuits. 

On May 2, J.T. Ready killed four family members, including an infant, before turning the gun on himself.  It is this kind of mentality that we are dealing with in radical militias and what makes them so dangerous to our country.   

And while still on Arizona, the legislature recently voted down a state-sanctioned militia bill designed to set up an organization that would support other private militia groups that patrol the U.S./Mexico border.  Jack Foote, a high profile Arizona border-militia leader from Cottonwood, worked with the legislature in writing the legislation.  Foote said, “"We have now washed our hands of our state's Legislature.  Now we are going to do things our own way."

J.T. Ready with
assault weapon
Spoken like a true Arizonan.  This is what Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and ousted state Senator Russell Pearce attempted with the anti-immigration law, SB-1070 that the Supreme Court recently gutted except for one portion.  This defeat could revive action on the state militia bill and cause more conflict between Arizona and the federal government.  Critics of a border militia say it is “extremist in nature.”  The bill would have established a 300-member armed guard on the border.

An excellent review of militia actions in the U.S. is covered in the New Trajectory Blog that starts in 2012 and dates back to 1983.  Once again, the activity is neatly apportioned throughout the country, giving rise to my admonition that we must be on the lookout for some kind of nationalization by these fruitcakes.  This potential, combined with the incessant drive by the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) to loosen gun laws is a powder keg ready to blow.

The old adage that one apple can spoil the whole barrel is true when it comes to this kind of organization.  As many of my comments indicated on the former post, there are good militia members out there and I won’t necessarily argue with that.  But the good can be led by a stronger bad, and that is the problem.  A border Arizona rancher who has accepted help from militias said, “Some people can join and have their own agendas.  That gets kind of frightening.”  An understatement.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Move over Hispanics…Here comes the Asian vote

A great deal of emphasis has been placed on the Latino vote in the upcoming presidential election in November, as has been the case in past elections.  In 2008, Barack Obama received 67 percent of the vote compared to Arizona Sen. John McCain who received only 31 percent.  And if you recall, McCain had been in favor of some kind of immigration reform back in the past.  But Hispanics still decided to rally around a Democrat and helped to elect Obama.

Hispanic voter summit
But that is 2008 and this is 2012 when things have changed radically.  We weren’t sure yet but the wheels were already beginning to come off the economy and we took a nose dive economically, Latinos taking a harder hit than others.  Also in this period, the President deported more immigrants than any other President before him.  That didn’t sit well in the Hispanic community, but they were still more concerned over jobs, the economy and education.

Hispanic News reports that “…21.5 million Latino citizen adults will be eligible to vote in November 2012, up from 19.5 million in 2008.”   HN predicts that if the rates of registration continue as they are, that means 8 million more Hispanic voters.  This site also provides a breakdown of the number of eligible Latino voters by state, as well as the numbers of those not registered.  Currently, polls favor Obama over Mitt Romney by a 63% to 27% margin.

Next, enter the Asian population which, according to a recent Pew Research Center study, is the largest group of new arrivals in the U.S.  Asians passed Latinos in 2010 at a rate of 36 percent new immigrants to 31 percent for Hispanics.  Asians represent 4.9 percent of the total U.S. population, Latinos 16.3 percent.  Pew says that in 2008 the vote was broken down, white 76.3%, black 12.1%, Hispanic 7.4% and Asian 2.5%.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, a political scientist at the U. of California, Riverside, and an expert on Asian-American immigration and civic participation commented that, “…if the trends continue, Asian-Americans will play greater roles in shaping American society and perhaps, more significantly in an election year, they will have an impact at the polls.”  Another key point by Ramakrishnan was the fact that far fewer Asian Americans enter the U.S. illegally than do Latinos.

Other findings by Pew included, “Asian-Americans are more satisfied than any other Americans with their lives, finances and direction of the country.  ‘They also place more value on traditional marriage, family and parenthood and usually possess a strong work ethic.  ‘And 93% of Asian-Americans describe people of their origin as ‘very hard-working,’ whereas only 57% said the same about Americans as a whole.”  They are also the best educated in American history.


3.4 million Asians voted in 2008

Asian-Americans attain college degrees (61%) at about double the rate of recent non-Asian immigrants (30%), and they are willing to make big sacrifices for the education of their children.  Asian median annual household income is $66,000 versus $49,800 for all Americans.  And here is the good part; most Asians tend to vote for Democrats, except for the Vietnamese, who are also now beginning to lean left.  This will be a solid group for the Dems in the future.

There are two swing states that could be significant in terms of Asian population in the November vote.  In Virginia, 5.6% of the population is Asian and in Nevada it is 7.9%.  When you combine that with Hispanic populations in those two states of 7.95 for Virginia and 26.5 for Nevada, you begin to see how the Democrats will be able to chip away at votes from the GOP in small to large increments.  If the Dems lock up the female vote, Republicans will have a real fight on their hands.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Satire on gun violence…Is that possible?

SATIRE


Wacky Wayne

How many dead kids does it take for the top gun lobby to re-think their position on gun control?  A National Rifle Assn. (NRA) spokesperson said, “oh around 1,000.”  And it would have to be a school setting to make us really stand up and take notice.  The NRA’s CEO, Wayne LaPierre, said they’d like to see them face down in the school auditorium or maybe the football field.  Of course, standing by while they are carried out in body bags would certainly help, he added.

I wish I had written this and what is yet to come but I am only republishing it, with some embellishment, from The Onion, which provides a wake up call for the American public that our kids, and adults, are being slaughtered at an alarming rate around the U.S. simply because there are too many guns on the street.  And while innocent people are experiencing a bloodbath, as you will soon see below, the NRA continues to push for looser gun laws.

I need to stop the comedy parade right here for a moment and call your attention to the best website out there that records kid shootings and deaths by guns, Kid Shootings.  Please take the time to scan this blog for information on kids being butchered by firearms, and if this doesn’t make you want to contact your representatives in Washington to do something about this dilemma, then nothing will. 

On a monthly basis, this blog publishes a report on nationwide shootings, shooting deaths and those wounded by firearms.  As a matter of fact, this past weekend is an example of the firearm massacre that is spreading throughout the country from Baltimore to Anchorage.

In just one weekend, from June 15 to June 17, there were 24 shootings, 15 killed and 52 wounded.  And there may be more that just haven’t been announced yet.  Chicago continues its bloodshed with the most action; 9 shootings, 7 dead and 35 wounded.

Back to LaPierre, he reasoned that 800 dead kids might not even raise the hackles of gun worshippers; it would have to be a ton of kids getting their heads blown off.  “We’d also require that at least 30 different types of weapons would have to be used for any serious consideration of what was intended by the Founding Fathers in the 2nd Amendment.”  Talking about large high schools of around 4,000 students, 1,000 dead ones “aren’t even a drop in the bucket.”

LaPierre said that if you hypothetically had a situation where 999 kids die, and number 1,000 was the shooter taking his own life, “I hope you don’t expect me to take that seriously.”  Further, “To me, that seems more like an isolated incident that shouldn't really impact everyone's rights, you know?"  Then he comments that after all he has seen, a low count like 350 to 470 dead kids would have no impact. 

Although we are dealing with satire here, this fanatic has been leading the gun bubbas for over 21 years.

Another short halt in The Onion’s satiric genius to comment on one of the best sites on the gun issue in the country, Common Gunsense which simply advocates sensible gun legislation.  This particular link is to a recent story titled, “Gun Fools,” which seemed supremely appropriate when talking about Wayne LaPierre and the NRA.  I urge you to read other stories if you want an excellent slant on gun issues.

The satire piece concludes with LaPierre once again dawdling over numbers with his new take that, “"One thousand dead kids would have very little impact on us.”  But he followed that with, “Now if 50,000 kids died in a school shooting that might be a different story. Something around 50,000 to 80,000 dead kids. You know what, forget that. Maybe something closer to 250,000. Yeah, 250,000 dead kids."

Thanks Wayne.  At least we have a firm number to “shoot” for now.  And although a massacre like that would be too horrific to imagine, when you look at the daily shootings, killings, and number wounded, it’s entirely possible that a much bigger event is in the works and will be carried out if we don’t enact more gun control.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Obamacare is good for Americans…Here’s why – Part 3

This is Part 3 and the last in this series.  Here are links to refer to Part 1 and Part 2.  So far we have covered some appropriate statistics re. who does and who doesn’t want Obamacare, along with some facts surrounding major issues in the law.  In Part 2, there is data from the Congressional Budget Office on cost, the individual mandate and more.  And I concluded with a report on what one particular source found wrong with Obamacare. 

I want to get into the incorrect conflict that senior citizens seem to have with the legislation, most of which can be explained by just quoting from applicable sections of the bill itself.  But first, there are five things that Politico thinks that the Democrats got wrong on healthcare.  In a prelude, Dems thought voters would reward them just for skirting the health care bill by Republicans, minus their support.  They were wrong and it cost them in 2010.

Number one deemed wrong.  Passing health care reform without Republican support.  Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean by misreading the American public felt the Dems had to get this done and everything else would fall into place.  It didn’t, and voters are still wavering on the issue, although somewhat more comfortable with the law now than originally.  After being left in the dust, the GOP has been on the attack ever since.


Who dropped the ball
promoting Obamacare?

Number two.  The White House and the bill’s Democratic supporters failed to get a clear message out that explained the bill and put to rest concerns by the public, especially senior citizens.  What has been done has been mostly ineffective and the Dems now think their best hope is to wait for the benefits of 2014 to kick in with the realization that 30 million uninsured Americans will finally get coverage.  Assuming the law gets past the upcoming Supreme Court decision.

Numbers three and four.  President Obama never personally waged the “great campaign” he promised.  This has been painfully obvious in that supporters of the law have raised only $57.9 million compared to opponents who have come up with $204 million.  Agreed, Obama has had a multitude of problems to deal with in the economy, the jobless and constantly rising gas prices.  The question here is did the President’s lieutenants drop the ball when he needed them most?

Number five.  Is the individual mandate the right approach, even constitutional?  We’ll know on the latter soon, but I refer to an earlier comment I made questioning whether a select group should be obligated to pay for the health care of those who decide to remain uninsured.  This idea of a mandate actually came from Republicans back in the 1990s when Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah) proposed the concept.  The Dems didn’t really take it serious then.

And finally there is a senior citizen population out there that is still leery of Obamacare.  Considering the figure numbers over 40 million, it is something that must be addressed.  But personally, as a Medicare recipient for several years, I am perfectly satisfied with the program, including under the new health care law.  My Medicare coverage is supplemented by additional insurance that pays the 20 percent that is not covered, which pretty much makes it zero cost to me. 

In all the years I have been under Medicare, my only out-of-pocket costs were things not covered that I elected to have done.  You must have a good supplemental plan to make this happen, but I added up the cost of premiums to payments by the plans ratio once and I am well ahead of the game.  Planning your insurance program for retirement is a major consideration, and it is something that many seniors need to take another look at today.

So what are the senior concerns?  One, that Obamacare will reduce Medicare coverage to you as well as paying your doctor.  “The health bill will reduce projected Medicare spending by $575 billion over ten years, primarily by reducing projected fees to hospitals and other providers and by reducing payments to private Medicare Advantage insurance plans,” according to a fact check by the Washington Post. 

But will Medicare benefits be cut to in the above reduction?  Those cuts will be accomplished by the two points above plus a crackdown on Medicare fraud, estimated to currently cost the federal government as much as $60 billion per year.  We are also assured that we can keep our current insurance plans and doctors.  The death panel scare is just that, well orchestrated propaganda first perpetrated by the then V.P, candidate, Sarah Palin, in the 2008 election.

In closing, most Americans want the social programs they enjoy to survive, and that is what the Obama administration is trying to accomplish with health care reform.  However, it is foolish to believe that all the goodies can continue without cutting some of the fat, and finding sources of new revenue.  Now that we’ve begun the overhaul of the health care system, it is now time to do the same to our taxes to make them more reasonable and equitable.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Obamacare is good for Americans…Here’s why – Part 2

Mitt Romney on Obamacare
In Part 1 of this report, we covered some statistics, a few of the basic issues under contention in Obamacare, and touched on Medicare.  Also included in that post are some excellent links with comprehensive understanding of the facts in this massive reform of health care.  It only seems appropriate that, after the pros and cons of the legislation, there is a need to know what’s in the bill.  It is clear this is a problem when 78% indicated knowing only a little about the law.

First, how much will it cost?  Answer: $940 billion over 10 years.  What about the deficit?  According to the Congressional Budget Office, it will be reduced over a 10-year period by $143 billion, which is more than their first estimate, and there is another $1.2 trillion reduction in the second 10 years.  Individual mandate: Starting in 2014, all Americans must buy health insurance or face a $695 annual fine.  As reported yesterday, this would only be between 1 and 2%.

Coverage would be extended to 32 million individuals in the U.S. who do not have health insurance.  There will be state health insurance exchanges for consumers and business making it more affordable.  There are subsidies for those making between 100 and 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), which is $22,050.  There will be a new 3.8% Medicare Payroll tax on investment income; families with income of $250,000, $200,000 for individuals.

Starting in 2018, an excise tax on insurance companies of 40% on high cost income plans ($27,500 for families, $10,200 individuals).  Dental and vision plans are exempt.  And there is a 10% excise tax on indoor tanning salons.  Interesting.  Medicare expands to include 133% of the federal poverty level which is $29,327 for a family of four.  Illegal immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid.  It isn’t clear yet how the Latino community views the latter in term of immigration reform.

By 2014, insurance companies will not be allowed to deny coverage to adults for preexisting conditions.  Children are already covered.  No federal funds can be used to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or health of the mother.  Illegal immigrants will not be allowed to purchase health insurance in exchanges, even if they used their own money.  There are more points in the plan and you can see them by going to a CBS News report, here.

So what’s the baaaad in Obamacare?  I looked at several sites with this kind of information and settled on Spectator.org because it was adamant that “If not struck down, it must be repealed.”  I figured this should provide some interesting insight into the opposition.  They leap into the battle with the question of whether they can force us to buy “broccoli” if they can make us purchase health insurance.  I kind of like broccoli so don’t have a problem with that.  Stupid!

On a more sane level, Spector proclaims: it is legislation-in-haste-repent-at-leisure mentality.  Dem. Nancy Pelosi did say, "We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what's in it."  There is no impartiality in the bill simply because it is 2,700 pages long and riddled with empirical language.  It takes the decision-making process out of buying health insurance and leaves it to bureaucrats.  Quoting a study, half of employers plan to drop health insurance in 2014.


Medicaid at work

The law will increase Medicaid enrollment by an estimated 24 million new beneficiaries by 2015.  Now I find it hard to believe that a country that is built on individual rights not doing everything it can to help the needy.  And that can be done with a combination of new taxes on the wealthy and eliminating unnecessary federal spending designed simply to get the politicians reelected. 

Anyway, some of these folks are in their position due to economic conditions for which they are not responsible.  Like a financial melt-down that resulted in a wave of home foreclosures that is still going on.

NEXT: Seniors against Obamacare, what went wrong and a wrap up.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Obamacare is good for Americans…Here’s why

But first some statistics that should energize both sides of the issue leading up to the forthcoming Supreme Court decision.  24% want to keep the entire law, 27% want to get rid of the mandate and keep the rest of the law, and 41% want to dump the entire law.  This would indicate that the mandate to buy insurance is the problem and without it a majority, or 51%, like what they see. 

The question arises, why should those with insurance pay for those who elect not to have it?

And then there is another figure that might change the mind of that 27% that want to get rid of the mandate.  The President’s health Care Law is patterned somewhat after the one Mitt Romney passed when he was governor of Massachusetts.  Only about 1% of the state’s residents had to pay a penalty for not taking insurance. 

The nonprofit policy think tank Urban Institute predicts that only around 2% will have to pay under the federal health reform law.

Of those uninsured, millions will jump at the right to get insurance now with pre-existing conditions.  For those who still don’t have health insurance, many will avoid the mandate’s penalty due to financial hardship or religious exemptions, and those earning too little to pay income tax can’t be penalized.  Most of the rest, except for that one or two percent, already have health insurance.  These are the facts that the GOP ignores and doesn’t want the public to know.

Some think Justices’ decisions will be based on personal beliefs, others strictly on the law.  Another interesting figure, 37% think the law went too far while 27% feel it didn’t go far enough, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll released on June 7.  A majority of those polled claim to know a little about the law with only 28% who know a lot.  Obviously it is that 78% who haven’t taken the time to understand what many criticize that is the problem.


Obama signing health care bill

I decided to do some fact checking and found The Fact Checker from the Washington Post that led me to three other sites: Factcheck.org; PolitiFact.com; and an examination by Kaiser Health News.  I recommend a look at all four sites.  Fact Checker cites some of the major points, starting with whether or not Obamacare is a government takeover of the health care system.  Absolutely not and PolitiFact labeled this the “lie of the year.”

There are many provisions that will (must be) controlled by the feds but the core of the health system will remain in the hands of the existing private insurance market. 

Next, will Medicare benefits be cut as well as payments to doctors?  The answer is that Medicare spending will continue to increase but at a slower rate.  With Medicare one of the fastest growing parts of the budget, “the health bill will reduce projected Medicare spending by $575 billion over ten years, primarily by reducing projected fees to hospitals and other providers and by reducing payments to private Medicare Advantage insurance plans.”

Repealing the bill will increase the deficit is technically true.  But Democrats should not be laboring over this aspect of the law since its original intention was not to reduce the deficit; rather to reduce the number of uninsured Americans.  And this has happened with 6.6 million young adults signing up for coverage under their parents’ plan.  This will be a welcome addition to the futures of recent college graduates who are already starting out in a tough work environment.

NEXT: What’s in the bill, what’s bad, what went wrong, etc.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Firearms deadly to women in domestic violence

Arizona is famous for its loose gun laws and old-west cowboy culture and it still harbors some of the worst gun violence in the country.  Unfortunately this also includes domestic violence cases, the most recent of which starred former racist and neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, who gunned down 4 members of his family including an infant in Chandler, AZ, a suburb of Phoenix.  He then took his own life. 

Already in Arizona in 2012, 48 have died, 31 or 64.4% of those by guns. 

These numbers are compiled by the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence who proclaims that there are obvious signs that precede these cases, as reported by USA Today below:

  • your partner controls everything.
  • your partner calls you names or yells at you.
  • your partner shoves, pinches, hits, punches, kicks or otherwise hurts you.
  • your partner destroys your belongings.
  • your partner threatens to hurt you, the children, or pets."

“Domestic-violence deaths are counted when a partner or other person in the home kills or is killed. An abuser committing a murder-suicide would be considered two deaths; a death is also counted if an abuser is shot during a confrontation with law enforcement,” says AZCADV.  Further, Battered women who have been threatened or assaulted with a gun — even once — are 20 times as likely than other battered women to be murdered.”  The signs tell the tale.

Nationally, a recent study shows that access to firearms increases the risk of intimate partner homicide more than 5 times compared to those instances where there are no weapons in the house.  Also, those abusers who own guns are more likely to inflict the most severe injuries on their partners.  And nearly two-thirds of all women killed by firearms were killed by an intimate partner. 

Firearms are the most frequently used weapon in intimate partner homicide, more than all other weapons combined.

These are heavy figures, especially when you stop to consider that in 1994 the Gun Control Act was amended to prohibit anyone subject to a domestic violence protective order from possessing a firearm.  In 1996, the Lautenberg Amendment was added prohibiting anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from possessing a firearm.  Fatal incidents do have a pattern, says Carl Mangold, a licensed social worker commenting in the following:

A man becomes violent, and blames the victim. She tries to resist, and his abuse escalates. She attempts to end the relationship, and he punishes her for her defiance.

Neil Websdale, a Northern Arizona U. criminology and criminal-justice professor refers to the above warning signs while adding others such as being over-possessive of the partner and drinking heavily.  Websdale says, "It's about manhood and failing to live up to prescriptions of modern-day masculinity."  This mirrors my contention that gun bubbas have the hots for the concealed carry law because it requires having a weapon at their side to make them feel like a man.

Connie Phillips, director of the Phoenix Sojourner Center, a domestic-violence shelter for women, says a gun is a powerful weapon as much for its ability to intimidate as to kill.  “You don't even have to point it at her.”  He only has to clean it in front of her, put it on the bedside nightstand as she sleeps, or carry it on his hip to make a point. 

In other words, firearms are a threat to women in case of domestic violence, so why is it so easy for these people to regain their gun rights after an episode?

More on this later.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Are the wackos against womens’ rights the same as those against gun control?

Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, the do-nothing guy we will soon be rid of, told reporters recently that the equal-pay bill, sponsored by the Democrats to prevent pay discrimination against females, will be blocked by Republicans.  Kyl, who was probably chosen to make the announcement because he has decided not to run again, says the bill is “…politically inspired and would reward trial lawyers at the expense of employers.”  Always…business over the consumer.

This kind of thinking would employ the same warped mind that would rather see more guns on the streets in the hands of anyone who wants them.  Since Kyl is speaking for Republicans in general, I guess I’ve answered my own question.  It is definitely the same breed, and they are as dangerous in this matter as they are on weapons. 

It is a fact that in the 2008 presidential election, women voted 56 percent to 42 percent for Barack Obama over John McCain?  This division was almost even in the 2010 election but at that time there was no president to vote for.  And Congress was and still is a completely incompetent gang of self-centered losers that would make it tough for anyone to decide who to vote for. 

But this is a presidential election coming up in November and GOP apparent nominee Mitt Romney has certainly not endeared himself to the ladies.  Republicans may even think at this point that they have lost the female vote.

In the latest USA Today/Gallup poll, the President leads Romney by 18 points in the womens’ vote.  Obama leads by 20 points in the most recent Pew Research poll.  I doubt seriously if this support is all due to Barack Obama’s support of womens’ rights, but the Democratic Party, although it has strayed from its liberal roots, is still far more in the corner of equality than the GOP and still favors the individual’s rights over business. 

It was a shocker, at least for me, when Maine Republican senator Olympia Snowe called the Democrats bill, "regrettable" and an "overreach." 

The legislation was designed to “…close loopholes in the 1963 Equal Pay Act, would require employers to prove that differences in pay were related to job performance, not gender; would prevent employers from forbidding employees from sharing salary information with each other; and would allow women who believe they were discriminated against to sue for damages.  Regardless of the outcome, the Dems will definitely make gains with its proposal.

For years I have wondered why any self respecting male could justify making more money than a female in the exact same position.  Same goes for any promotions that are given based on gender.  Since 1917, when Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman to serve in Congress, many more have served but currently in the 112th Congress, in the House, there are currently 362 men 76 women. In the Senate, 17 women and 83 men.

The first woman was actually appointed to the Senate by Georgia's Democratic Governor Thomas Hardwick in 1922.  After that, women weren’t elected in number to the Senate until 1992; that’s 70 years.  This supposedly august body has always been identified as a haven for the good old boys.  It is terminology like this that harkens over to the bubbas of the gun rights movement whose masculinity is challenged if they can’t walk around with a gun in their pocket.

Studies have found that men are much more fickle than women when it comes to voting, and have a decision making process that is more in keeping with pragmatism and what’s best for the country.  On the other hand, men tend to side with “bubba” issues, certainly favoring big business over the ladies.  And many vote with their guns, probably using the muzzle to actually push the voting machine lever.  It is an NRA mandate to defeat Obama in November.

Currently on the electoral map, President Obama has cinched 247 votes to Romney’s 206, on the way to 270 to win.  Leaning Obama are another 51 which along with the 247 is a win.  Leaning Romney is another 47 votes which brings his total to 253, 17 short.  The obvious key to the election are the remaining 85 toss up votes which include the states of Ohio and Florida, both of which are in the 12 swing states. 

The female vote is critical in November, as are the Independents and Latinos.  Barack Obama carried independents by an eight-point margin in the 2008 exit poll, but the GOP carried them by a 19-point margin in the 2010 midterms.  Well, at least two out of three in President Obama’s corner isn’t bad odds.