Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Labor Day: Thank A Liberal!

Day in the Life
of Joe Middle-Class Republican

By John Gray – originally Published by – July, 2004

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards.

He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised. All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should loose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression. Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans.

The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to.

After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day) Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of hemselves, just like I have”.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Here Come the Nuremburg Defences, Again

Cartoon by R.J. Matson

Nuremberg Principle IV, states that "defense of superior orders" is not a defense for war crimes, although it might influence a sentencing authority to lessen the penalty.

Nuremberg Principle IV states:

"The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Reconciliation Process and Health Care Reform

The most cogent explanation I've found of the much-talked-about (but less understood) congressional budget reconciliation process is from TalkingPointsMemo. TPM's Brian Beutler explains:

Each year, Congress passes a budget, but sometimes it has to enact a separate bill to raise or reroute funds in order to meet the budget's demands. That's the reconciliation bill--and it's so important that Senate rules exempt it from a filibuster. But they also prevent it from being a vessel for any old provision that the majority party wants enacted.

The specifics of these limits (enshrined in the so-called Byrd rule) are complex, but the overarching rule of thumb is that provisions passed through this process must have a significant budgetary component (i.e. involve the moving around of federal money) and that the legislation should not, in the long run, increase the federal deficit. (A recent historical example: the 2001 Bush tax cuts were passed via the reconciliation process. They survived the Byrd rule because they had a huge budgetary impact, but since they vastly increased the federal deficit, they sunsetted, and had to be renewed after five years.)

Thanks to Mimi @ Wounded Bird for blogging about the TPM post first and thus educating my formerly clueless self about reconciliation on so many fronts.
As Mimi points out:

[quoting from TPM]
. . . According to Martin Paone, a legislative expert who's helping Democrats map out legislative strategy, a more robust public option--one that sets low prices, and provides cheap, subsidized insurance to low- and middle-class consumers--would have an easier time surviving the procedural demands of the so-called reconciliation process. However, he cautions that the cost of subsidies "will have to be offset and if [the health care plan] loses money beyond will have to be sunsetted."

And there the irony continues: Some experts, including on Capitol Hill, believe that a more robust public option will generate crucial savings needed to keep health care reform in the black--and thus prevent it from expiring. But though that may solve the procedural problems, conservative Democrats have balked at the idea creating such a momentous government program, and if they defected in great numbers, they could imperil the entire reform package.
[Mimi then comments]
Let's see if I have this straight. If Democrats choose the more robust public option, they are more likely to be able to overcome the procedural hurdles and pass the bill on 51 votes without the threat of filibuster by the Republicans. The bill would also save money and perhaps pay for itself.

But the conservative Democrats may not stay on board, because they don't like the idea of a "momentous government program"? On what grounds? Read on. Because the Republicans in their pushback say that the public option would have to be "very aggressive in setting rates, price controls and rationing,". Ah, those are scary words to conservative Democrats.

On the other hand, those with no health insurance know rationing quite well.

So. As the author of the article, Brian Beutler says:

The path of least political resistance is beset by procedural obstacles; and the path of least procedural resistance is beset by political ones.

Got that everyone?


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

E-Mail from a Fiscally Conservative Friend

I just received a brief note by e-mail from a dear friend who rarely enjoys entering the political fray. He is socially very moderate to liberal, but fiscally, economically, and monetarily is a true conservative. (Well, he can be generous almost to a fault, but is the kind of guy who is likely as not to do his charitable giving anonymously). I share this without his express permission, but have notified him of this posting. If the post disappears later, you'll know that I misjudged his silence for consent. Herewith a pragmatic and thoughtful view of health care reform:

OK, first let me start off by saying this is NOT a particular party political statement...

I have had a series of recurrent ear infections/problems for years. I now have a substantial hearing loss in my right ear caused by constant fluid in the ear drum. After getting a ct scan ($1,100.00 here in the U.S., approx $99.00 in Japan), I need sinus surgery to correct the problem.

I have excellent insurance (which I pay dearly for every month). I have met my deductible (a few heart tests, again substantially less costly in other countries, took care of that). I STILL have to pay an up front "deposit" of $400.00 before I will be able to have the surgery. Fortunately, God has blessed me with the resources to be able to pay for everything.

So, when I arrived at the MD's office to pay the deposit, I inquired as to what other people, who can't afford to pay the deposit, do. The young lady took a deep breath and said rather sadly and plainly...."THEY DON'T HAVE THE SURGERY".....! I pressed her and said "do you all ever make any kind of 'arrangements' with people who can't pay. She said, "very very rarely"

..... So, I asked around and discovered this is pretty much "standard practice"....unless it is life or death.

If I didn't have this surgery, I would continue to go back and be treated with cortisone, antibiotics and worst of all, continue to lose more hearing in the ear.... I'm grateful to be able to have a viable option which will most probably fix the problem (I know in medicine there are no certainties)....

In conclusion... No matter WHICH side of the aisle you are on (or if you are in the middle). Contact your congressmen/women and tell them to work together to find a solution to the health care crisis in our country.

And lastly, to my friends on both sides of the aisles. Please don't send ME your criticisms of the other sides solutions. There's way to much of that going around. It's so much easier (and quite frankly so much more destructive) to criticize an idea/person than it is to seek solutions and compromise....

Your partner in finding a solution,


Monday, August 31, 2009

Iowan Veteran Urges Republican Support for Public Option