29 October 2010

The trouble with tribbles--- er, I mean polls

I don’t trust the various news polls.  I mean, how do you ask 1000 people something and then say this represents the whole of America which has a total population of 360,000,000 give or take?  You can’t and it’s Becktarded to think so. 

However last week a new AP poll came out which pundits and newspapers from east coast to west said proved that the Democrats were doomed in the upcoming election and that Republicans were the cat’s meow with voters. 

Well, being the person I am, I had to see these poll results for myself and came away baffled.  Were the jabber jawing bobble heads reading the same poll I was?  They claimed they were but it couldn’t be.  Here’s a few examples of what I mean:

1) 38% of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction  this is actually pretty average but it is up from the 17% it was in the last few months of the Bush administration.

2) The Democratic Congress approval rating is only 36%  While this is true, it is out of context and incredibly misleading given there is a +/- 3.3 % margin of error.  In context the Republican Congress approval rating was 21% as of 2006.  In fact, according to a Gallup Poll last year (http://www.gallup.com/poll/116530/Approval-Congress-Hits-Four-Year-High-Fueled-Dems.aspx) the Democratic approval rating was at 39%, the highest point it had been in 4 years!   So if we add in our margin for error in this poll the 39% approval rating is exactly as it has been since 2009 when it peaked!  By comparison, when asked how the Republicans in Congress was doing these days, they only managed 29%! 

If we spin the polls as they do, we could easily claim it’s only 26%, a meager 5 points better than in 2006

3) The American voter is angry Sort of.  It’s actually 50-50.  More people were disappointed (81%) and frustrated (84%) yet hopeful (64%)

4)  Republicans have a commanding lead over Democrats  No, they don’t.  Asked about a generic Democrats v. Republican ballot, Dems come out with 47% to the GOP’s 46%.  Further while 59% of these said they’d definitely vote for their candidate, a whopping 41% remained uncommitted

When asked who they’d rather see run Congress, it was an even split at 45% with 7% saying neither!

Asked if they felt the GOP would be successful if they took one or both houses of Congress, it was 50-50, probably along party lines. 

5)  Favorable v. Unfavorable  When asked if they had a favorable impression of Obama, 57% said yes.  By comparison George Bush received 44%. 
Wondering how Sarah Palin did?  Palin got 47% to Hillary’s 68% and Michelle Obama’s 70%.  Wow.  How did congressional leaders do?  Nancy Pelosi got a low 37%, which still whoops John Boehner’s 30% hands down.  Mitch McConnell narrowly edges Harry Reid 30-28.  The political parties themselves broke even (yet again).

6)  This midterm election is a referendum on Barack Obama   Actually, no, it isn’t.  Public opinion on his job performance is still 50-50 for and against, again, probably along party lines.  When asked the question if Obama would influence their Congressional vote 50% said no, 23% said yes to show support for the President and only 26% said yes

7)  Americans want Republicans to repeal health care  Yet another twisted truth.  While 45% of people in this poll are totally opposed to the Democrats health care bill, 40% aren’t with 14% uncommitted. 

In fact when we look a little closer 18% like it as is, 39% wants it to do more, 9% want it to do less and only 32% want it repealed.  4% were uncommitted.  Puts a whole new spin on things doesn’t it?  Take that Boehner!

Who are these people polled?  85% were Christians and 75% were white.  I guess minority voices just aren’t as important, right Arizona?

Finally, and I think the most telling part of the poll, when asked who would win control of Congress 55% said Republicans.  Only 36% said Democrats.  This is revealing given the Democrats have the edge in so many categories.  I may not think much of polls but this particular one speaks to one important truth: The right wing propaganda machine and the conservative mass media sure do know how to manipulate us!

28 October 2010

This election cycle is giving me a headache

It’s late and my head hurts.  My headaches are nothing new; I get them fairly frequently and have ever since I can remember.  Too much reading and clogging my brain with information.  It reminds me of a Monty Python sketch where a git enters a doctors office complaining that his brain hurts.  If you don’t know what I mean, shame on you!  You need to watch more Python!

Today’s reading took me all over the place, mainly in the political spectrum.  I hate politics, I really do.  You have to be a special sort of unethical slug to want to be a politician and the only way to understand a politician is to be in their mind set.  That’s a tough thing to do, especially when you try as I do not to sully your spirit or chi with such vile notions.  Yet, I trudge on, day after day, reading about it because as a citizen of this country, I believe Iam obliged to keep informed about the activities of my government, both state and federal.  It is my duty as a patriotic American.

Unfortunately, that’s an antiquated idea for millions of my countrymen.  I get it though.  Real life is far more important than political life.  Kids need fed and taken to school, work needs doing so you have cash to keep a roof over your head.  There are a million and one things so much more important than the wranglings that happen in Washington.

But our government and the politicians have come off the track, completely.  Politicians no longer bother to hide their shame; they are proud of it.  They take bribes from lobbyists, rich folk and corporations and know We The People won’t do shit about it because, as I have said, we have more important worries.  As a result there is no member of either political party who bothers to stand up for us anymore.  If there was, universal health care would have passed this year instead of that godawful mess they ended up passing.  You might remember that the health industry laid out all kinds of money to both Dumbacrats and Republikkkans to not pass a single payer program or a public option, money which these soulless fuckers were all too happy to pocket. Fuck the people!  We’re rich!!

And that’s been the mantra of Washington since Reagan: Fuck the people. 

We have been cut loose so that the politicians can do all they can to protect their wealthy benefactors.  Of course rich folk don’t really need any protection because their massive wealth pretty much lets them get away with murder, but to hear the Dumbacrats or the Republikkkans tell it, these poor rich folk just need to pay back less and less to the society that made them rich to begin with.  Nobody makes millions without the blood and sweat of the common man doing the dirty work.  Yet all rich folk want to do is take and take and take from us.

The only time politicians bother with us “peasants” (as Chuck Krauthammer describes us) is —haha!— like now when there is an election going on.  Oh yeah, it’s all about us common folk then!  Then you can see all the politicians dressed in their finest monkey suits spouting the same tired rhetoric: Oh! this side is fucking you all over! or That side is stealing your liberties and cash! when the truth is, both parties are right when they say it.  They expect us to ignore that they are both equally culpable in screwing us over in the first damn place!  What are poor plebeians like ourselves to do?  We are literally damned if we do and damned if we don’t. 

Which is why I have a goddamn headache now. 

This election cycle has become all about choosing between the lesser of two evils.  Do I vote for the idiots of the Dumbacratic party, a party that could have done anything it liked with its majority numbers but instead decided to act like greedy Republikkkans, selling out their constituents to the highest bidder and wasting their opportunity to forge what could have been an important epoch in modern American history?  Or do I stay home and let the rabid, racist, radical, raving, violent, fundamentalist Christians of the Republikkkan party have their day in the sun so that they can destroy what little bit is left of our freedoms, civil liberties and privacy as they happily put the ax to Social Security, Medicare, unemployment benefits, job stimulus programs and social services so their rich benefactors don’t have to pay their fair share in taxes?


Is that really even a choice?  I feel like like a modern day Odysseus navigating between the scylla and the charybdis!

Of course once this election is over, we commoners will be all but forgotten again unless we are fetuses or win the lottery and strike it rich.  This is not the America I want for my grandson, my children or myself.  This is a nightmare landscape where greed has trumped goodness and our Founding Father’s sacrifice has been rendered pointless as a new class of royalty asserts its lordship over the rest of us.  The Congress is no longer a house of commons but a house of lords.  Our presidents are no longer mediators or stewards of the nation but all powerful kings imposing their will over us at home and abroad.  And We The People are lost, rendered modern day serfs.  If we do not yield or obey, they will have us arrested.  If we protest or demand rights they will put us on a terrorist list.  It’s how I imagine it would be like living under the Soviets or the Nazis.

All I know is it sure ain’t freedom.

14 October 2010

I've moved... virtually!

So, I've changed blogging servers because tumblr.com kicks more ass than Google's Blogger and has made my life simpler and the blog has never looked sweeter.  So you should go here:


11 October 2010

A quote

“I feel exposed. I don't like being weak, and I know that I am. I yearn to rely on a stronger will. I fear what I'm capable of in it's absence.”
E.B. Farnum

10 October 2010

John Lennon's Birthday and the Stargate Marathon Continues

Yesterday was John Lennon's birthday and I regret that he was not here to share it with us.  I've read and heard a lot of good and bad things about John from a lot of different voices but in the end I believe that you know a man's heart through his poetry or words and John has left us a brilliant, shining little treasure trove of musical gems to go through, allowing us to go through them one at a time and maybe see a little bit into the soul of Mr. Lennon.  As Hamlet once said, "He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again."

Which is where the Stargate Marathon comes in.
Being a Trekkie, I never had much use for Stargate.  It was a poor man's ST:TNG whittled down to 4.  Of course it doesn't help that I never followed the story line and what episodes I saw were mediocre to lame or that they jumped the shark in season 6 by bringing poor Corin Nemec on board.  Ugh!  

At least they didn't kill Jonas Quinn in some horrible fashion as I expected them to do and, to be honest, secretly wanted.  In fact he's in an episode from season 7 that I just watched.  Hooray!  I think.  But I suppose the  creators of the show or the folks at the network who may have said, "Screw you Shanks, we can make the show without you!  Hahahhahha!" must have known they fucked up bad and just couldn't bring themselves to crush Nemec.  It wasn't his fault after all.  He was a young actor who thought he'd caught his big break.  How crushing to know in the end the fans couldn't stand you!

I began the marathon after I got Netflix and discovered that I could watch Stargate from beginning to end and, being agoraphobic, I had the time on my hands to do it.  It was a good show until season 4 when it became a great show.  I thought season 5 was great too but the endings gave me fits as they seemed so abrupt and inorganic to the story.  >Shrug<  What do I know?  Then they jumped the shark.  So season 7 (out of 10) is going along alright and I hope that they can recapture the preseason 6 magic.  We'll see.  I can only hope so because I really do like the show now and want it to end well.  If it doesn't though, Netflix recently added seasons 3 & 4 of Battlestar Galactica that I haven't seen yet.  I'm already tingly thinking about it.  It is a far superior show to Stargate (especially that BSG clone SG:U) and some Trek alike.  I'm building up my anticipation to watch those but I want to be done with the Gate first.

The great way always teaches us humans through natural examples.  This too is one.  The loss of Corin Nemec will never feel the same as the loss we feel for John Lennon.  Yet they are both "mere men".  Merman pop!  Merman

The value we place on one persons life over another is a great deception we humans have created for ourselves.  In the end one dies as any other; even the great are humbled by it.  Every individual life should be seen as sacred and holy, a fantastical, spontaneous expression of the great way as we wide this wave of continuous creation and treated as such.  Yet we kill people we don't know in Afghanistan everyday, women and children even, while praising the peace and love of Lennon and remembering his clarion call to wake up today and fix everything.  A sad conundrum we apes have placed upon ourselves.  As a follower of the great way, "Imagine" is like an anthem to me, a reality we could collectively cause to happen today if we really wanted to bad enough.  Unfortunately I suspect there will be more killing in our names.

06 October 2010

Is Progressive Dissent Public Enemy #1? | CommonDreams.org

by Lydia Howell

Is free speech worth the constitutional paper it’s written on?

After the September 26 FBI raids on peace activists’ homes in Minneapolis, Chicago and North Carolina, it appears to depend on who’s speaking and what they’re saying.

The pretext for the raids was investigating “material aide to terrorists”, resulting in grand jury subpoenas and confiscation of computers, books, music CDs and from one home, a Martin Luther King poster. The targeted Minneapolis activists have openly protested US military policy since the 1980s. The FBI certainly knows they have nothing to do with terrorism. These activists simply have the audacity to challenge bi-partisan US invasions, occupations and support for dictatorships and human rights abusers. Dissent on the left has long been seen as ‘criminal behavior’. Where once “the communist threat" was the argument for such repression, now, “terrorism” is.

When it comes to war, US government sees three roles for the American people: 1. Pay hundreds of billions for the largest military on Earth 2. Kill and possibly die or be maimed for US military and corporate dominance of other countries 3. Cheerlead war. The US government -- bought and paid for by weapons-makers and mercenaries (‘contractors’) -- does not think that We The People have the right to even question, much less challenge and resist permanent war, which is bankrupting our country and civilian deaths ignite more violence.

Just days before the raids, the Department of Justice Inspector General released a report about FBI abuses of peace groups under the Bush Administration -- abuses that President Obama continues. Republicans and Democrats rubberstamp domestic spying on peace organizations, Quakers, and solidarity groups visiting countries that the US bombs or subsidizes death squads in.

In June, the Supreme Court ruled 5-to-4 in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Center that peace groups who talked about non-violent, democratic practices and international human rights law -- that is, alternatives to terrorism -- with organizations on the State Department’s “Terrorist Watch List” may be charged with ‘material aid to terrorists’. If ending terrorism is actually the goal, then, why make working to end violence a crime? In his dissent, SCOTUS Justice Stephen Breyer warned that political speech -- the most protected speech under the First Amendment -- was being criminalized.

President Bill Clinton’s 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act made “material aid" a crime, was expanded under George W. Bush’s PATRIOT Act and is broadening to Orwellian vagueness under the President Obama. He made campaign promises to close Guantanamo, yet the Obama Administration is defending Bush-era torture and imprisonment without charges, trial or conviction in court. Obama claims further powers: to assassinate anyone labeled a “terrorist’ overseas -- including American citizens.

Billions of dollars have simply disappeared in Iraq and Afghanistan. Contractors like KBR/Halliburton reap billions for work not done and services not provided. The US government bribes Taliban, warlords and “insurgents” with over $2B.

Dissidents educate the American public about these policies as much as they protest them.

As the FBI raided American dissidents’ homes, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced economic sanctions against Iran for human rights abuses, including “suppression of dissent”. What hypocrisy!

Since WWI, the FBI has targeted peace activists; most infamously labor leader Eugene Debs was sentenced to ten years in prison for an anti-war speech. The FBI’s COINTEL program subjected the civil rights movement to domestic spying while the Klux Klux Klan burned churches and homes, beat and murdered with near-total impunity. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and other leaders of color had thick FBI files. The Black Panther Party, American Indian Movement and Puerto Rican Independence movement were subjected to FBI assaults, murders and frame-ups. Congress’ 1978 Church Committee investigated these abuses and ended them until 9/11 loosened all rules.

Almost always it is progressive/Leftist non-violent groups and activists that the FBI spies on, harasses and tries to jail.

Anti-choice groups post hit lists of doctors with their addresses, commit arson on and mail anthrax-like powder to clinics -- without being investigated. White supremacists and militias threaten and commit violence against people of color, Muslims and progressives. Violent rhetoric infuses many right-wing groups -- with no grand jury subpoenas. Supporting racism, corporate rule and war -- that is, rightwing ideology -- even with a call for violence, is protected speech.

The Supreme Court will hear the case of homophobic preacher, Fred Phelps, who protests military funerals. Likely Phelps will win, as “unpopular speech" -- especially if it's bigotry -- gets protection. This is the same court that made talking about international human rights law a crime.

Bigots are held up as "victims" whose First Amendment rights are threatened, yet hatred has no problem being heard. No one is harassed for suggesting that the US nuke other countries who have not attacked us. Instead, the government targets those who uphold values of equal justice under the law, human rights, democracy and peace.

Nine years after the September 11 attacks, the US government has done more damage to fundamental American freedoms than Al-Qaeda ever did. With progressive dissent, censored from corporate media, increasingly treated like a crime, it’s time to ask: what is being protected?
Lydia Howell is a Minneapolis activist, journalist and producer-host of CATALYST: Politics and Culture on KFAI Radio.

04 October 2010

Soviet America

I'm really feeling uninspired today.  I keep staring at this page waiting for words to miraculously appear but my heart just isn't all that into it and hasn't been for about a week.  This happens every so often.  I read the real news online and just feel powerless to stop the erosion of the Republic of America as it slips further and further into some perverse Soviet style plutocracy.  It becomes, "Why bother?  Americans don't care so why should I?"  

It's not like this is hasn't happened before.  The Roman Empire was a Republic once, so was Germany.  But things change.  Men in power take more power.  The next generation takes more power still.  Each time they take this power they swear it's only temporary until this calamity passes or that one; that they will lay down their king-like powers in favor of Constitutional law, but it never happens.  The people of America forget their former freedoms like the barnyard critters from Orwell's Animal Farm.  Some animals are more equal than others.  And Americans believe it.  Of course billionaires should keep all that money.  Of course the rich shouldn't pay their fair share.  Of course the government can spy on us, tap our phones, read our private messages.  We are the little people and the people in power know what's best for us.

As it happens, the rich folk and the government don't give 2 squirts of piss about the little people.  It is the rich and their political cronies on both the right and left that created the financial troubles our country now "enjoys".  It is the rich and their political cronies who fund the Beck's & Limbaugh's to stir the Teabaggers up for insurrection.  And for what?  More power, more money, more exploitation of the masses. 

It is a cynical ploy, mapped and plotted in great detail by those who would lord it over us.  They do not want to yield their power or their massive amounts of wealth for the public good so they protect themselves with the military or the militarized police force that intimidates, harasses and often times kill regular civilians like you or me.  It all reminds me of what we as a nation used to say about the Soviet Union, how we defined them as evil, a force that needed defending against.  Like the Soviets we have an all powerful Stalin that we call President.  Like the Soviets only the rich are protected and have legal rights.  Like the Soviets, our intelligence agencies or police may arrest anyone at will and make them disappear forever.  Like the Soviets, we invade sovereign nations under the pretext of national security.  The list goes on.
Yet Americans swear they are free.  The great deception, the brilliance of the powers that reign over us lower classes.  Tell the slaves they are free because they are too stupid to know the difference, too weak and lacking the financial resources to do anything meaningful about it.  That's my America today.  Lacking even the common civility required to join together to fight our powerful foe, we backbite and name call rather than unite against tyranny and the abuses laid upon us all by greedy men.  Both Republikkkans and Dumbacrats are equally at fault in this.  They readily absorb the cash from the wealthy to win their offices and then turn on us out of deference to their deep pocketed contributors wishes.

Now America is a nation of domestic oppression and international war.  One can easily equate our once free land with both Soviets and Nazis.  I close with a paraphrase of Martin Niemoller: 

When the Americans came for the liberals, and I did not speak out--
    because I was not a liberal;
Then they came for the feminists & gays, and I did not speak out--
    because I was not a feminist or gay;
Then they came for the civil rights movement and immigrants, and I did not speak out--
    because I was not brown;
Then they came for the Muslims, and I did not speak out--
    because I was not a Muslim;
Then they came for me--
    and there was no one left to speak out for me. 

02 October 2010

Dwight Was Right | MichaelMoore.com

Dwight Was Right | MichaelMoore.com

Today's OpenMike blog

So...it turns out President Eisenhower wasn't making up all that stuff about the military-industrial complex.

That's what you'll conclude if you read Bob Woodward's new book, Obama's War. (You can read excerpts of it here, here and here.) You thought you voted for change when you cast a ballot for Barack Obama? Um, not when it comes to America occupying countries that don't begin with a "U" and an "S."

In fact, after you read Woodward's book, you'll split a gut every time you hear a politician or a government teacher talk about "civilian control over the military." The only people really making the decisions about America's wars are across the river from Washington in the Pentagon. They wear uniforms. They have lots of weapons they bought from the corporations they will work for when they retire.

For everyone who supported Obama in 2008, it's reassuring to find out he understands we have to get out of Afghanistan. But for everyone who's worried about Obama in 2010, it's scary to find out that what he thinks should be done may not actually matter. And that's because he's not willing to stand up to the people who actually run this country.

And here's the part I don't even want to write -- and none of you really want to consider:
It matters not whom we elect. The Pentagon and the military contractors call the shots. The title "Commander in Chief" is ceremonial, like "Employee of the Month" at your local Burger King.

Everything you need to know can be found in just two paragraphs from Obama's War. Here's the scene: Obama is meeting with his National Security Council staff on the Saturday after Thanksgiving last year. He's getting ready to give a big speech announcing his new strategy for Afghanistan. Except...the strategy isn't set yet. The military has presented him with just one option: escalation. But at the last minute, Obama tells everyone, hold up -- the door to a plan for withdrawal isn't closed.

The brass isn't having it:
"Mr. President," [Army Col. John Tien] said, "I don't see how you can defy your military chain here. We kind of are where we are. Because if you tell General McChrystal, 'I got your assessment, got your resource constructs, but I've chosen to do something else,' you're going to probably have to replace him. You can't tell him, 'Just do it my way, thanks for your hard work.' And then where does that stop?"
The colonel did not have to elaborate. His implication was that not only McChrystal but the entire military high command might go in an unprecedented toppling -- Gates; Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Gen. David H. Petraeus, then head of U.S. Central Command. Perhaps no president could weather that, especially a 48-year-old with four years in the U.S. Senate and 10 months as commander in chief.
And, well, the rest is history. Three days later Obama announced the escalation at West Point. And he became our newest war president.

But here's the question Woodward doesn't answer: Why, exactly, can't a president weather ending a war, even if he has to fire all his generals to do it? It's right there in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution: The President's in charge of the military. And so is Congress: the army can't just march over to the Treasury Department and steal the money for wars. Article I, Section 9 says Congress has to appropriate it.

In the real world, though, the Constitution's just a piece of paper. In the real world, a President who fired his top military in order to stop a war would be ruined before you could say "bloodless coup." The Washington Post (filled with ads from Boeing and Northrop Grumman) would scream about how he was the reincarnation of Neville Chamberlain. Fox and CNN (filled with "experts" who work for think tanks funded by Raytheon and General Dynamics) would say he was a girly-man who had to be impeached. And Congress (which experienced its own escalation in lobbying from defense contractors just as the Afghanistan escalation was being decided) might well do it. (By the way, if you want to listen to Lyndon Johnson talk in 1964 about how he might be impeached if he didn't follow the military-industrial complex's orders and escalate the war in Vietnam, just go here.)

So here's your assignment for tonight: Watch Eisenhower's famous farewell speech. And then start thinking about how we can tame this beast. The Soviet Union had its own military-industrial complex, which is one reason they got into Afghanistan...which is one reason there's no more Soviet Union. It happened to them.

Don't think it can happen to us?

01 October 2010

on John Boehner and his hypocrisy

John Andrew Boehner has been Representative since 1990 and is part of the Republikkkan establishment.  Naturally this should put him in the Teabagger's cross hairs but I think his protective orange skin causes cognitive failure in the human brain.  Sure, you read a news article here and there saying the Tea party wants nothing to do with Boehner, but as a soulless politician he has opted to ignore these minute rumblings.  Instead he has taken the Republikkkan party backwards in an effort to appease and absorb the Teabagger angst into their proper GOP hole in hopes of a Republikkkan takeover of both houses of Congress in November.  A cynical move to be sure, but ol' Boehner needs the votes to advance the Republikkkan agenda of making rich folk richer and the lower classes poorer.  Why?  Because that's what his wealthy donors pay him to do with their contributions.  Privatizing Social Security, eliminating Medicare, repealing the new health care law & ending unemployment benefits is their aim.  Why?  Because rich folk in America don't want to pay their fair share.  So , rather than live up to their social responsibilities, they send their Republikkan lapdogs to do the dirty work, something John Boehner is only too happy to do.

If you follow Boehner on Twitter, you get his updates in which he decries the current state of the country and blames that condition solely on the Dumbacrats.  To be sure, Dumbacrats are spineless, jelly legged enablers but to blame their party for the lapses of Republikkkan leadership under the illegal Bush regime which caused our current catastrophe is unconscionable.  Not that facts would stop Boehner from spreading his gospel of misinformation and disdain.  It never stopped him before, why should it now?  Seems that the Republikkkans have developed mass amnesia about the Bush era and their irresponsibility during that time.  For example, President Clinton left them a balanced budget and budget surpluses, they have given us record deficits and debt for the next few decades.  Or how about the fact that the GOP doubled the size of the federal government when their platform claims to be for smaller government?  You can now see that what Republikkkan leadership really means is "we'll cut social programs like food and disability benefits and grow the federal government where profitable".  Screw the poor, make rich folk richer! is the GOP mantra.  Social Darwinism Robert Reich calls it (robertreich.org) and I agree.  The GOP sees itself as the fittest, our superiors, our betters and the lower classes just need to deal with it and quit whining. 

Reich goes on to say: "...like (President Herbert) Hoover and (Treasury Secretary Andrew) Mellon, Republicans want to cut the deficit and balance the budget at a time when a large portion of the workforce is idle.

This defies economic logic. When consumers aren’t spending, businesses aren’t investing and exports can’t possibly fill the gap, and when state governments are slashing their budgets, the federal government has to spend more. Otherwise, the Great Recession will turn into exactly what Hoover and Mellon ushered in – a seemingly endless Great Depression.

It’s also cruel. Cutting the deficit and balancing the budget any time soon will subject tens of millions of American families to unnecessary hardship and throw even more into poverty.

Herbert Hoover and Andrew Mellon thought their economic policies would purge the rottenness out of the system and lead to a more moral life. Instead, it purged morality out of the system and lead to a more rotten life for millions of Americans.

And that’s exactly what Republicans are offering yet again."

But Republikkkans love rehashing ideas, just ask Boehner.  When the Dumbacrats had taken over Congress with the election of Clinton, Boehner was one of the architects of the "Contract With America" in which the GOP promised to restore honor, morals and ethics to the federal government.  The Contract was Republikkkans saying, "Look we screwed up last time you elected us, but if you give us another chance to do the job you elected us to do in the first place, we promise never to screw up again.  And this time we mean it!"

Today it is Boehner's "Pledge to America" which is the GOP saying yet again, "Look, we screwed up last time you elected us, but if you give us another chance to do the job you elected us to do in the first place, we promise never to screw up again.  And this time we mean it!"

“The House finds itself in a state of emergency. The institution does not function, does not deliberate and seems incapable of acting on the will of the people. From the floor to the committee level, the integrity of the House has been compromised,” Boehner said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute.

Funny he should say that as it is the Republikkkan obstructionism in the mantra of, "No!" that has ground the institution to a halt, which has been proved countless times over the last couple of years.  As for acting on the will of the people, some 70% of all Americans wanted a single payer or public option for health care reform.  The GOP, not willing to make their wealthy benefactors pay their fair share, held their breath, threw tantrums and did all they could to derail the process like petulant 5 year olds.

He went on to say that House and Senate authorizing committees “abdicated their responsibility, often authorizing billions of dollars knowing full well they will never actually be appropriated.” (1)  You mean like all those billions of $$$ that went "missing" in Afghanistan under the felon Bush during the Republikkkan watch?

I've tried to e-mail Boehner but like most politicians, he doesn't respond to out of state e-mails from the lower classes.  If I were an out of state donor, I'm sure it would be a different scenario.  I follow him on Twitter to keep an eye on all the outlandish half truths he tweets.  Sometimes in a fit of frustration, I reply to his tweets, which is a total waste of time as the man who claims his party needs to listen to the voice of the American people (all of us presumably) doesn't allow public tweets on his profile.  I doubt he's alone in that practice but he still puts himself and his party out there as those who give a damn and want to hear our opinions, but that just isn't true.  The voices he wants to hear all agree with his politics and the opinions he claims to solicit means they must be conservative.  Hardly a representation of the whole of America but then that's the hypocrisy of Boehner and his GOP cohorts.  They don't want to hear other voices and opinions that don't make them richer or that might benefit lower class Americans.  They only want to hear what they already believe and that, my friends, is what they've done all along and no Contract or Pledge is going to change that even as they lie through their teeth and promise yet again it will.  They really, really mean it this time... again.

(1) Quotes taken from http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/42979.html as reported by Richard E. Cohen

Health insurers force children into the ranks of the uninsured | Seema Jilani | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Health insurers force children into the ranks of the uninsured | Seema Jilani | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

In a move that demonstrates health insurance companies' keenly cultivated moral bankruptcy, several of the country's largest insurers have announced that they would no longer sell child-only health policies. This was their response to the Affordable Care Act, which took effect last week.

The new law ensures that all pediatric well-child visits, including immunisations, hearing and vision screenings, must be covered. The new Patient's Bill of Rights also eliminates most lifetime limits on coverage, bans insurers from denying care to children with pre-existing conditions, and from dropping coverage when a child becomes ill. It was in response to these new regulations that several health insurance companies finally dug down to the cold depths of their compassionless souls and mined this gem: withholding new child-only policies from the individual private market.

This is perplexing because these policies make up only 10% of the market, but then again, every cent counts. Children make up 50% of the US Medicaid population, but they account for only 22% of total Medicaid expenditures. Each child costs an average of $1,856 per year, compared to the average annual annual cost per adult of $6,631. Yet, our insurance companies still think that the burden of ill children weighs too heavily on their corporate shoulders.

One loophole to the landmark law is that insurers still may impose lengthy waiting periods after a child receives a devastating diagnosis. An extended, arduous waiting period for a child newly diagnosed with leukemia can be just as catastrophic as denial of coverage. Anyone who has ever been put on hold while on the phone to an insurance company has a clue about how long this "waiting period" is likely to be. Your nine-year-old with leukemia is expected to pray for a miracle while the insurance company highlights your itemised bill. IV? Fine. Painkillers? Apologies, but budgets are tight this year.

Another ambiguity in the law allows insurers to impose a monetary cap on the sickest children's care, as long as this decision is made in good faith. Why shouldn't it be? Clearly, there's no conflict of interest. What if the mother whose child who needs a heart transplant were asked what the financial cap on her daughter's care should be? At least she is not plagued by the need to increase shareholder value, only by the desire to see her child reach her 10th birthday.

An estimated 11.4% of American children – 8.8 million – are uninsured. That number varies greatly from state to state. In Texas, 20% of children are uninsured. The question that is central to this debate remains: who are the uninsured? Many buy into the propagandised myth: the uninsured are the lazy, the unemployed, the lower-class, the ethnic immigrants. According to the department of health and human services, however, 48% of uninsured Americans are white. Hispanics do have a higher uninsured rate proportionally, but research has found that this is because they are more likely to be employed in jobs that do not offer health insurance, such as construction and agriculture.

The great majority (79%) of the uninsured are US citizens. In 2004, almost half the uninsured (46%) worked full-time, and 28% worked part-time. They remain uninsured largely because their companies do not offer health coverage.

One reason that Texas, for instance, has so many uninsured is not because they are all unemployed "Messicans", but because the economy depends upon small businesses, which cannot afford to provide their employees with insurance. These employees make too much to qualify for Medicaid, and there are no unions in place; hence, very large numbers of working-class people remain uninsured.

In order to qualify for Medicaid, one can earn up to 185% of federal poverty level, which is around $22,000 in most states. So, if your family of four makes more than $40,700, you don't qualify for Medicaid. The cheapest healthcare for a family costs around $13,000 per year, which poses the question for middle-class families: would you rather feed your kids or insure them? I wouldn't spend a third of my paycheck on health insurance.

So, who are the uninsured? Working-class US citizens. They are not lazy; they're smart, and they're trying to make ends meet. The uninsured aren't "they". They're us. It's our children who are being deprived of even basic treatments, such as antibiotics.

How tragic that the richest, most prosperous country in the world is comfortable allowing its children to suffocate to death. Literally. Asthma, you see, is one of those pre-existing conditions in the fine print you missed, sir (or madam). Breathing treatments may or may not be part of your preferred plan. While we look into that matter, please, just listen to Mariah Carey while you wait on hold and watch your child asphyxiate.