Friday, April 5, 2013

The Privatization of Medicare and Medicaid Has Already Happened - Did Anyone Notice?



Universal Health Care was a "noble idea".

Whenever I start to think about politics as a noble profession,
I just remind myself that Michelle Bachmann gets re-elected
every two years and the only thing that stands to become
"Universally Healthy" since ObamaCare has been passed...
is "private insurance companies".

In spite of landmark legislation and a President's re-election,
what began as an earnest attempt by a compassionate Democratic
Party to make health care a "right" instead of a "privilege", has
fallen away faster than Mayor Bloomberg's ban on large size sugary
soft drinks.

While the Fiscal Cliff nearly took us over the edge, Gun Control
was leaving us more armed and dangerous and North Korea and
Syria has been giving us a lesson in good and evil...Medicare and
Medicaid --a very "noble public idea" has quietly and incrementally
become a private battle that is being lost to insurance companies
and Republican leadership.

Beginning in 2014...even though there will be no "Universal Health
Care"...there will "universal payments" made to private insurance
companies by every citizen, business, or by the government for
every man, woman and child in America. This makes as much
sense as asking what time you will get there... on a long trip to
nowhere.

But what is most alarming, is we are losing Medicare and Medicaid
as we know it, to exactly what Paul Ryan and his Republican brethren
were unable to win in the courts and at the ballot box...to turn
Medicare and Medicaid into nothing more than a "Privatized Voucher
Program".

After Republican governors from Texas, Louisiana and South Carolina,
who represent the largest percentage of uninsured people in the country,
and have absolutely no plan in place to change that statistic, decided to
pass on accepting an expansion of Medicaid that is 100% paid for by the
Federal government, the Administration was forced to "negotiate" with
Republican governors in more than 13 states, to not have a program
that a nation is paying into, with millions of people still not receiving
the benefits they deserve.

This is like negotiating with someone who is holding the winning lottery
ticket, but won't turn it in... unless you agree to pay the taxes on the
winnings too!

The Republican governors are insisting that the only way they will agree
to extend Medicaid coverage to poor Americans, is if the federal government
pays premiums directly to private insurance companies...instead of offering
the less expensive Medicaid insurance being provided directly by the
government itself.

These Insurance policies will be purchased from the new "Insurance
Exchanges", that are estimated by the CBO to cost the government
anywhere from 15% to 50% more than the government can provide
on its own...with governors asking for the right to waive restrictions
that forbid higher co-payments, deductibles, and maximum coverage.

So many poor people, people who earn a maximum of $15k a year will now
have access to health insurance...but won't use it, because all the costs
associated with their care will no longer be paid under the new program.

For many members of Congress who insist that more Americans pay their
fair share for government services, it is hard to understand why only 5%
of the employees at Popeye's fast food restaurant opted to buy health
insurance because their co-pay of $2.50 a week was a choice they couldn't
afford to make.

Instead of the original hope for Health Care becoming socialized and
civilized...we have Medicaid becoming privatized.

And the prognosis for Medicare, has the patient on the same operating
table. One third of all Medicare patients are currently on the "privatized" Medicare
Advantage Program. A popular program whereby the government is co-paying
premiums along with citizens to private insurance companies to provide
an upgraded Medicare Program to patients 65 or older.

This has resulted in more than 14 million Americans now on privatized
Medicare being co-paid by both the government and seniors.

We had reached the fork the road, with one direction being single payer
and universal health care and we didn't realize we had already chosen the
road that will lead to the complete privatization of "government healthcare".

Socialized and civilized...has lost to "
voucherized and privatized".

How can we call it The "Affordable Healthcare Act" when the very tenet of the
plan is to further privatize health care with higher premiums paid to private
insurance companies by the government and higher private fees paid to doctors
and hospitals for their services when accessed through these programs.

We may have passed ObamaCare, but we have failed to embrace its intent.

We will pay for our meat to be inspected, our children's toys to be tested and
for terrorism to be prevented, but if any of these things actually cause harm
...we don't want to pay for anyone's healthcare, to mend them back to health.

After such a hard fought and momentous battle to pass ObamaCare...we are
seemingly still on our own...and some of us... are more on our own than others.

All of us, except the insurance companies.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Next Time" - Things Bill Maher didn't say this week but wishes he did...


He didn't say: If Congress is going to confirm Mary Jo White
as the new head of the Security and Exchange Commission
(SEC), the Agency that failed to uncover Bernie Madoff and
the financial problems at Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers --
than we also need to bring  in her two top assistants, Larry
and Curly to be her right hand men.  Besides, the uncanny resemblance,
the name Mary Jo sounds suspiciously like Moe.


Anyway, after a highly prominent and stellar career in the US Attorney's
Office prosecuting terrorists, Ms. White left the Agency to
become the Lead Defense Council for many of the companies
that are currently under investigation by the SEC. (JP Morgan,
UBS). How ironic that she will be forced to recues herself from
so many high profile cases, just to prove that the SEC is no
longer a "Stooge" for Wall Street.

Bill Maher also didn't say: Snack companies have to stop naming their cakes
like characters from "50 Shades of Gray". No wonder Hostess went
bankrupt. What responsible mother today would allow their child to
buy a snack named "Ding Dong", "Devil Dog", "Ho Hos", "Zingers"
and a "Ring a Ding Ding". The new Pope just announced that buying
a 2 pak of "Twinkies" is the equivalent of supporting same sex
marriage.

Bill also didn't say: 5 Hour Energy and those like it, need to admit they are
nothing more than legalized drugs. These drinks get us so amped up,
that many of us are forced to take medical marijuana in order to bring
us back down. Whether it be the half of America that wants to be
in a hyperkinetic state of ADD, or the large group of people that
want to mellow on their couch and wonder if there are two kernels
of popcorn that look exactly alike...clearly, there are few Americans
that want to live in a state of conscious reality.

He didn't say: Somebody needs to tell Blackberry they are the Krispy
Kreme of mobile phones. We think we want you back...but we really
don't. We need the new "Z10" model about as much as we needed
"Z1 though 9".

He didn't say: We need to remind Congress that the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms was not based on Paper, Rock, Scissors. There
was a time when all three were considered equally dangerous. Who
would have thought that 75 years after the Agency was formed...you
can't smoke in public, carry an open container, but you can carry a
concealed weapon almost anywhere.

He didn't say: Actors on Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars
cannot be on the air at the same time, unless they are starring in a
Reality Show based on "The Hunger Games". These Celebrities careers
are so far behind them, they are even forbidden from being used in a
game of Kevin Bacon's "Six Degrees of Separation".


And finally, Bill Maher didn't say:...Air Traffic Controllers should be considered
more important to passengers than a free bag of peanuts.

With the "Sequester Cuts" closing 149 Air Traffic Control Towers
and the forced layoffs of TSA officers at security checkpoints, we
will now officially be waiting in line longer...in order to fly less
safe.

You know you have a problem when Rosetta Stone is selling "Airport
Complaining" as its very own language, and when Carnival Cruise
Lines prefers to send people home by Greyhound Bus, instead of by
plane, so as not to further worsen their customer experience.

The Airline Industry has taught the government that passengers
will tolerate taxes and fees that cost more than their plane ticket,
pay baggage and parking fees that are more than a hotel room, and
have a willingness to pay for everything from six inches of extra leg
room, a blanket, and even for toilet privileges...as long as you continue
to give them a free bag of peanuts.

In fact our government is run exactly like the airlines, it thinks like
Republicans but operates like Democrats. Not unlike the government,
70% of the airlines revenues comes from 20% of the people, who in
kind, receive almost 100% of all of the perks and benefits.

When the 20% fly, they receive the very Republican valet parking, a
private waiting lounge, a separate security gate, no fee for bags,
fully reclining seats, generous frequent flyer perks, and a gourmet
meal, while the other 80%, get a very Democratic...free bag of peanuts.

No matter what the government or the airlines debate about what to
take away next from the 80% of the rest of us, Pell Grants, Student
Loans, Veteran Benefits, Medicare, Social Security or the free instruction
card in the back of the seat in the event of a plane crash, the 20% will
still have more than 1 trillion dollars in tax deductions, the very best
health care, a good retirement plan, top educational schools, access to
a mortgage...and a first class seat on the aisle.

Regardless of whether you are in the 20% or the 80%, danger and public
safety affect all of the passengers... 100% of the time.

It is one thing when our government fails to inspect our meat properly, or
the lead in our children's toys, but when I fly, I don't think I deserve to fly
with less air traffic controllers, less TSA Security Officers, and now Muhammad
being allowed to carry Pocket Knives and Hockey Sticks back into the cabin,
while I still have to throw out my 3oz. bottle of moisturizing skin creme.

Does Greyhound give away free peanuts?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I know who is older, whiter and more insular than the Republican Party..




According to the Chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus, the only people
that are "older, whiter and more insular" than the Republican Party
...is Hugh Hefner and the Leadership at the Vatican.

All three cling to the past, believing their problems are more style than
substance, in spite of the fact, their downward spiraling membership
and fractured organizations...is strong evidence to the contrary.

While Mr. Hefner was a man ahead of his time, eventually becoming
out of sync with the times, the Vatican and the Republican Party have
appeared to be frozen in time.

Scandal, Celibacy, Contraception, Abortion, Gay Rights, Same Sex
Marriage, and Women's Rights are issues that have been flashpoints
for both organizations, yet the recent "Conclaves" at CPAC and the
Church, don't lay out much hope or faith that any fundamental change
will be forthcoming anytime soon from either organization.

With 80% of the Nuns here in the United States now under the watchful
eye of the Archbishop from Seattle, to insure they are only promoting
Church Doctrine, and only 31% of voters identifying themselves as
Republicans, one might think that new Leadership would be elected to
point them in a new direction.

Yet both organizations cannot seem to break free from separating core
conservative values, from the interpretation of how those values are
relevant or reflective of our everyday lives.

And even though both organizations, lean heavily on the Lord for guidance
and revelation, it is now the Hispanics, they are both are looking at... to
lead them to the Promised Land.

Pope Francis will excite the 501 million Catholics in Latin America and
Marc Rubio will reach out to the 11 million immigrants that dream of
one day being proud Americans, but espousing old policies on new faces,
is a poor substitute for a true Religious or Political Awakening.

The Church under Pope Francis, does seem to poised to recommit itself
to helping those in need, in order to find its salvation, while the Republicans
still seem destined to help only those... that are in a position to help
someone else.

The Republican Party will be spending 10 million dollars on a campaign to
reach out to the very people, they will want to be taking away hundreds
of millions of dollars from...in order to  prioritize the reducing of the
deficit.

Paul Ryan says the Republican Budget is tantamount to not burdening our
children of tomorrow with the financial irresponsibility of today, but why is
it the best policy to burden the children of today with the financial
irresponsibility of those from yesterday.

Are children of today any less valuable than the children of tomorrow? Any
less deserving of a fair and balanced approach to share the responsibility
and the benefits of a bright and exciting future

Does it make sense to ask the children of today to sacrifice their education,
scholarships, food stamps and health care and social security...for the children
of the future, while not asking the wealthiest people in this country to sacrifice
their annual 1 trillion tax deductions to help pay down the debt?

What sacrifice will Mr. Ryan's be asking of his children, while asking 98 percent
of everyone else's children to share the burden?

Many Republican policies certainly win elections and seem easier to implement
when they are governing someone else's family...other than their own.

It is hard not to notice the number of Republican Leaders who were against
same sex marriage until they learned their own child was the one who wanted to
get married to someone of the same sex.

The Republicans have begun a listening tour to reach out to minorities and Latin
Americans so their Party can begin to look like America.

I hope the first thing they hear is: it is much more important to understand
how Americans feel, than trying to reflect how they look...and the best way to
understand how they feel...is to first ask a greater sacrifice of yourself, than
anything you may ask of others.

And if that be the case...than the Catholic Church and the Republican Party,
might have eve more in common in the coming years...then just the hope for
a large Hispanic following!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fun in the News: Bye Bye to Chavez, Justin Bieber's career and why they should not pick a Pope now


Justin Bieber in England this week, needs to decide whether or not
he will become the new "King of Pop", or the next Prince Harry. If
Prince Harry can foolishly boast of killing the Taliban, than Justin
should be able to successfully kill his own career.

JC Penny and Macy's need to stop fighting over Martha Stewart,
Martha says she hasn't felt this popular, since she taught fellow inmates 
how to make blueberry wine from raisins and maple syrup.

Newly embalmed for public viewing, Hugo Chavez will be starring
in a new Diet Pepsi commercial with Sofia Vegara entitled "Wherever
Hugo - I Go". Sofia will be forced to decide, to be "On the Go with Hugo",
or in heaven with her favorite soft drink.

The drama at the Russian Bolshoi Ballet is doing more to thaw relations
between Russia and The United States, than the night the "Who Shot JR"
episode, became the most watch television show in Russian history.
Mark Burnett has already licensed "Real Men Wear Tights" in more
than 37 countries.

If the Vatican really wants to change its image, it probably shouldn't be
locking 115 men in one room, with a chimney symbolizing the only key
to getting out!

Students need to stop whining about the use of Standardized Testing as
the main component for College Entrance Exams. Call me insensitive, but
I haven't noticed that many math and science geniuses, who could only
get into a community college, and was forced to major in Phys Ed, because
the test didn't understand the essence of who they are.

Also this week -- Mercury is in retrograde and will stay that way until March 17.  Justin Bieber and the Vatican should NOT make any decisions until then.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Abortion in Arkansas - If men could get pregnant would we even be having this conversation?


This week saw the celebration of "International Women's Day",
and what better way to honor how far women have come, than
on the very same day, Arkansas passing the most restrictive
abortion rights law in the country.

In response to the ban on abortions after 12 weeks of conception,
Liberals immediately vowed to oppose any law that helps people
of Arkansas, replicate themselves anymore than is absolutely
necessary.

Expect to see massive contraception handouts, free information
pamphlets on the morning after pill...and free seminars on how
to hold an aspirin between your knees while eating Tater Tots
from Dairy Queen.

When did the fight for freedom to believe as you choose,
become only a fight to believe as I do?!

Why does a debate on the fate of the unborn, have to be decided
in the courtroom, instead of in our hearts and mind?

How is it, that people work harder for the rights of a potential
unborn child, than they do for a woman once she is born?
Would we even be having this conversation if men were the ones
who got pregnant?

Today, here in the United States, even though more women attend
college and achieve higher grades than men...they are overwhelmingly
and disproportionately kept away from seats of power.

Only 20% of elected officials are women and an even smaller percentage
are CEO's, or sit on the Board of Directors of Fortune 1000 Companies.
In India, it is culturally acceptable to assault women as sport, in
Afghanistan to deny them an education, and in Saudi Arabia they are
still not allowed to drive.

Religious teachings has never been particularly kind to women. Ever
since Jesus picked all men as the Apostles...women knew it was going
to be an uphill battle to get a seat at the table.

And the fact that Muslim extremists are still touting virgins as door
prizes on the way to see Allah...certainly indicates there is still much
work to do before a celebration is in order.

But the real religious challenge for woman when it comes to abortion
is not an individual line of scripture or an interpretation of the Ten
Commandments, but the fact that in religion...as emblazoned in the
state motto of Arkansas "The People Rule", instead of the individual.
One Book...one set of rules...one set of rituals...and one set of beliefs!
The reason there are more than 1500 religions in the world is because
you cannot have 1500 opinions in one Religion.

So even though our country was founded on individual rights...religious
conservatives are challenged to think that people have an individual right
to decide how they feel, once the Church has put in Doctrine exactly what
they say one should believe.

There are fair, spirited and troubling arguments when life begins, that
neither faith nor science can answer with a true consensus of certainty.
And it is moments such as these, why this country was designed with
a church to guide us and not define us...and a government to protect
us, but whenever possible... never be the one to choose for us!

Some people argue about the intention of the "separation of church and
state" in America by our founding fathers, but the real separation, was
that our country was not set up as a theocracy.

As we have painfully been reminded all too often lately...our country, unlike
the church... was set up to disagree!

Divided factions, individual rights and equality for all... were very distant
cousins from religious organizations or the European governments that
were based on religion as their inherent right to rule.

Women may never win the argument for the "Right to Choose" in church
on Sunday...but here in the United States her body is her Temple and she
should be the Pope!

...and although a Woman still can't be elected Pope, we need to make sure
that whenever possible, the "smoke is blowing white" for all Women in all
areas...so International Women's Day ...can be a true celebration!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beltway Confidential - Behind the Scenes of the Sequestration





Ever since the sequestration has gone into effect, the Fox News lead story
every day has been, "the economy is still alive". Similar to when Saturday
Night Live infamously reported every week that Spain's General Francisco
Franco was "still dead". Both organizations selectively reporting on what
happened as opposed to what was actually happening.

Breaking news by Fox is now: airport delays not caused by the sequester,
meat still being inspected, and lines are still only 4 hours long at the DMV...
some things will never change!

Unlike Elvis, no one ever questioned the General's permanent state of
rigor mortis, but the possibility that the sequester has killed the economy
and the poison hasn't taken its full effect yet, one would think is the far more
compelling story.

With the sequester calling for 44% of the $85 billion in cuts to be implemented
upon just 14% of the budget in a period of only 7 months, the independent CBO
reports and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke agrees, that up to 750,000 jobs will be
lost, GDP will be reduced sharply,...and the economy could be endanger of being
pushed back into a recession with such a harsh and abrupt halt placed upon the
economy.

Why was there no midnight call to VP Joe Biden this time? Why did Republican
Leadership leave town faster than Anthony Scalia can get rid of the Voting Rights
Act!

This is not an impasse...this is not a failed negotiation...this is how you win
Championship Fight.

Round One: Republicans threaten to shut down the government and default on
our bills if spending cuts are not guaranteed regardless of either Party's inability
to negotiate. Debt Ceiling is raised, the sequestration is born, and the Tea Party
hasn't felt this successful since Nathan convinced Aaron to build a Golden Calf
while waiting for Moses to come down from the Mountain.
Winner - Republicans...the sequester becomes the "rope a dope" of political
strategy!

Round Two: The Republicans lose an election and give up 620 billion dollars in
revenue increases on the top 2% income earners for 2.5 Trillion dollar in spending
cuts.
Winner - Democrats...Republicans agreeing to tax increases hurts more than Joe
Frazier being knocked down 6 times in 6 minutes against
George Forman.

Round Three: The sequester kicks in and the Republicans give up Zero dollars in
revenue increases for 1.2 Trillion dollars in spending cuts and haven't even touched
Social Security or Medicare yet! And most importantly, the Republicans for the first
and only time, get to cut the Military Budget, with complete cover by the Democrats
and the sequester...without having to cast a single vote!
Winner - Republicans...Tea Party doesn't care if you take a sledge hemmer to the
government, they want it as broken as possible!

Round Four: Before this round starts, the Democrats and their team are going to
have to change strategy to avoid a knockout and out box their opponent to victory.

The problem is the Republicans have put the Democrats into the corner by forcing
them to manage the sequester as best as possible and open themselves for blame
if they don't. If the Democrats use the pain of the sequester to force the Republicans
to the center of the ring, they could be knock downed by the very same pain that
is unfairly being forced upon the public.

If someone loses their job, it is not the forced sequester that is responsible...
but the inability of the President's team to manage the cuts more effectively.
Need more tools to manage the sequester and save jobs? House Republicans
will blame the President for not accepting their amendment to the sequester
for allowing the President to choose targeted cuts instead of the painful cuts
from among all of the Presidents favorite programs.
Winner - TBD...this will come down to whether the President's Left, is stronger
with the Bully Pulpit, vs. the Republicans Right, with radio and
television, influencing how the referee, mainstream media
ultimately reports the story.

Final Round: After four years of training, the President is more than prepared to
fight either toe to toe or with the "sweet science" that only an experienced fighter
can bring to the ring. The President will go for the knock out by bringing the Grand
Bargain back to the table...bigger and bolder than he first proposed with John
Boehner. He will bypass the Speaker of the House, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell,
and look to Republican Senators who secretly want to diminish the role of the Tea
Party before the upcoming Republican Primaries.

He will put enough in the ring to try to make this a battle between Senate
Republicans and Republicans in the House, instead of a fight between himself
and House Republicans.

The punch they won't see coming will be a significant closing of tax loopholes to
pay down the debt for a modest reduction in corporate tax rates to stimulate the
economy.

This combined, with offering means testing and agreeing to change the formula
for cost of living increases for Medicare, will put the Republicans in a defining
moment for who controls the future of their Party...which will strengthen the
Democrats in 2014, no matter if the Republicans agree or remain the party of
no to compromise!

The President would still have Social Security and raising the minimum age
requirements to receive benefits, for future negotiation fights, or if he needs
another devasting punch to call upon in a close call decision.
Winner - The American People...

Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Unwanted Advice to People in the News This Week




Advice: Rock Stars need to stick to promoting Drugs, Sex, Rock
and Roll --and not World Peace! Now, with no Pope to promote the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we can't afford to lose two
Holy Trinitys in the same week! It was disappointing to learn that
rocker Jon Bon Jovi is not joining the panel for "American Idol" or
"The Voice", but "The White House Council for Community Solutions".
It used to be we could count on Rock Stars to be role models for
leading a decadent lifestyle far worse than our own...now we have
only the politicians to look at. Just because politicians are legalizing
pot, sleeping with prostitutes, and constantly infighting,... it doesn't
mean they can be in a band!

Advice: Automobile companies have to stop selling electric cars that
cannot stay charged longer than my electric razor. The EPA is
reformulating the MPG standards for electric cars and so far they have
determined people in Los Angeles walk their dogs longer than they can
drive the new electric Nissan Leaf. If Thomas Edison had counted on
the batteries in the "Leaf" to test electricity, it would have been over
so fast, people would have thought he was inventing lightening instead
of the light bulb. It's one thing for my iPhone to run out of power during
an important call...but it would be true "Carmageddon" if more than 2
people ran out of "juice" on the 405 freeway at the very same time!

Advice: Dennis Rodman cannot have a "bromance" with Kim Jung-un.
This is what happens when "JDate" tries to expand its clientele. Kim
thought he was in the secret romance section, took one look at Dennis's
secret weapon and put him on the next plane to Pyongyang. For Dennis
...he thought he was answering an ad for a chain of "Korean Massage
Parlors".

Advice: Now that he has been approved as Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel
has to show he can defend our country, better than he defended himself
against the Republicans. No one has looked that out of sync with Military
leadership, since Michael Dukakis tried to put a helmet on while sitting on
top of a tank! He didn't just turn the other cheek to Lindsey Graham and
John McCain, but had it slapped, pinched and placed on a whoopi cushion.
We are the only country that screens a potential Defense Secretary in open
hearings because public perception plays a critical role in projecting military
strength, but than feels it is necessary to do everything possible to create
the weakest perception possible before approving him!

Advice: The Pope needs to be allowed to still wear his red shoes. The Vatican
announced that the Pope Emeritus will be no longer be allowed to wear his
favorite red shoes after he goes off to a life of prayer and silence. Are they
afraid if he taps them three times he will be able to "get the hell out of there".  

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rosa Parks - Meet Chief Justice John Roberts


When the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court asked
yesterday during oral arguments, regarding the 1965 Voting Rights Act,
whether or not Southern states are more racist than their Northern
counterparts...I didn't know whether to be more offended by the
question, or by the fact, that no one seems offended by the question.

The question wasn't whether this law will continue to stop racist
voting practices in the South, but whether "Southern Racism" is
really any worse ...than anybody else's racism.

While acknowledging that the New South, has made tremendous
changes, there are still many areas that won't have a Civil War
Reenactment...because it still hurts too much.

Does the Chief Justice believe that since Danica Patrick won the
Pole position at Nascar's Daytona 500...we know longer need the
Lilly Ledbetter Act?

The Voting Rights Act may be almost 50 years old, but isn't almost
yesterday that the Southern courts are still hearing cases about the
right to fly the confederate flag, Texans signing petitions to leave
the Union, and having to order the removal of the "Ten Commandments"
from Alabama Government Office Buildings.

It may be the New South, but it seems to me it still has some of the
same old problems!

Is this really the time to remove barriers to racism in the South or
the North, or should we be having a conversation on the need to
strengthen them?

The original Civil Rights Act was first proposed as an amendment to
the Constitution in 1865. Rosa Parks was still fighting for a seat on
the bus 87 years later, and after another 50 years, Lyndon Johnson
needed to pass another Civil Rights Act...just to give people a path to
the voting booth!

And wasn't it not that long ago that Justice Clarence Thomas accused
the media of giving him a "High tech lynching"...during his confirmation
hearings?

If racism hasn't healed in his heart...is the nation so far ahead of him,
that we can pat ourselves on the back as to rid ourselves of a law that
has been our single most successful form of attack?

Today, targeted Voter ID Laws and Gerrymandering have replaced literacy 
tests and poll taxes to express bigotry and a quest for power. 

Racism has expanded beyond the color of our skin to the color of the 
State we live in. Gerrymandering of Congressional Districts has resulted 
in 1.5 million more Democratic votes in the House...but a majority of 
Republicans holding seats...and with 92% of African Americans voting for 
the Democratic Party...a people's struggle for a vote that is representative 
of who they are and what they believe in... is now being threatened, not 
only by elected officials, but by the very Courts that has served to protect 
them. 

As of today...Ms. Parks didn't just win a seat on the bus or the right to 
vote...but a statue in Washington DC, bearing her likeness, symbolizing 
her courage and inspiring all of us to stand up and be counted...when we 
need to be counted on the most! 

And when Chief Justice John Roberts asks the wrong question...we need 
to stand up to power, sit in the front row and if necessary give him a bus 
token that will drive him to the right answer!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Oscars - One Last Vote Please!




The age-old question in Hollywood is not,...how does Jane Fonda
look that good, but were this year's Hollywood films simply a reflection
of real life... or will they become the driver of real life behavior.

Film has the unique ability to be a reflection of Society, while also
becoming the impetus for a Society to change.

No one questions that Marlon Brando and James Dean turned
a t-shirt into a fashion statement, or that John Travolta inspired
a generation to dance, but will this year's Oscar nominated films
go beyond being more than just a collection of cultural trendsetters.

Will "Silver Linings Playbook", help humanize the mentally ill, at
a much needed time, when the gun control debate has only served
to demonize them!

Will President Obama look at "Life of Pi" and feel like he is trapped
in a boat with the "Tea Party", and now look for an alternative
approach, because he realizes there will never be enough red meat
to make that journey work!

And will the Supreme Court, announcing they will be re-visiting the
1964 Civil Rights Voting Act, the Congress re-authorizing the Patriot
Act, and the Nation remembering the same case for war being made
against Iran as we did against Iraq,...allow these timely based historical
films, Lincoln, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, to not only give us a much
valued insight on what has already come and done, but more importantly,
will they speak to how our decisions... can lead to who we will become!

Did "Beasts of the Southern Wild" already inspire Lindsey Graham to act
like, "I am the man"... in holding up the confirmation hearings for CIA
Director nominee John Brennan?

And even though John McCain maybe the only person who smiles less than
Tommy Lee Jones, did "Lincoln" let him look at Chuck Hagel one more time
and finally go: There is room for one more in the Cabinet "Team of Rivals".

Hollywood likes to relish in the value artists bring to films that create an
emotional connection with an audience, which can be more influential than
a missing parent, an indifferent school teacher, or a callous society...but
is it the violence in "Dijango Unchained" that can reach a teenager in a
tough neighborhood in Chicago, who looks out across his neighborhood and
asks how can he be free from the circle of poverty and violence in his own
backyard.

"Les Miserables", "Amour", and "Beasts of the Southern Wild" are all films that
reflect our ongoing battle between searching for the truth and handling the
the truth once we find it...which might change the way we take responsibility
for our family, our planet and ultimately our own demise.

"Argo" might become a part of your life because it resonated with an important
issue at a sensitive time..."Lincoln" maybe everlasting for you because it shows
moments of greatness buried inside a man with all of our flaws.

One thing for certain...in the 9 films that were nominated this year...there is no
shortage of either inspiration, happy endings, or a poignant reality, to help us look
at ourselves in a crystal clear reflection shining back to us from the Silver Screen.

But is there an all-time Oscar winner in this group for you? And if not, what is your
all-time Oscar winner --not for having the best actor or the finest director...but
what film has been most impactful in your life, or do you think can be the most
impactful to someone else?  Which film was either a reflection of your life, or became
a key driver that changed your life.

...and the Oscar goes to....

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Unwanted Advice to People in the News This Week



If you are going to be the lead investigator in the Oscar Pistorius
murder...don't commit a murder yourself. It doesn't help to tell the
the Grand Jury..."that's how I would have done it"...because maybe
you once did.

If you are going to continue to place electric batteries on the new
Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane that keeps catching fire...don't tell
us that putting a "fireproof box" around them is the solution...
Samuel L. Jackson had a better chance of protecting me in...
"Snakes on a Plane".

Stop titling a self-imposed "Political Financial Crisis" like a
romance novel. The Fiscal Cliff and the Sequester sound more
like a Jackie Collins novel with Fabio on the cover...I know
Fabio and John Boehner, you are no Fabio!

If you are going to take Performance Enhancing Drugs...take
something for the brain...this way you can come up with a much
better excuse when you are finally caught taking them! I'm sorry,
but you have to do better than, "I always take my Vitamin B shots
with a hypodermic in my ass." Trust me, if you take a pill, lose your
hair, and your balls become raisins...we will not believe it is acid
reflux!

You cannot be against a "Minimum Wage" increase when you don't
vote against giving yourself a raise in Congress, rush to pay yourself
a dividend before the end of the year to avoid a 5% increase in your
capital gains tax, or be one of those companies sitting on unspent
record corporate profits of more than 1 trillion dollars. The dollar
menu was supposed to be a customer offering, not what is left over
after someone gets their paycheck!

Food needs to be labeled by what animal I am actually consuming.
A two year investigation has revealed that 87% of the Red Snapper
and 59% of the White Tuna sold in restaurants and grocery stores has
been fraudulently mislabeled...It's one thing to hide how much caffeine
is actually in my Vodka and Redbull healthy energy drink...but now
they have found horse meat injected with powerful painkillers and
anti-inflammatory drugs in some of the most popular frozen beef
hamburgers and steaks...and if it wasn't for Lance Armstrong grazing
on hay after his last triathlon...we might never have been made
aware of how dangerous and fraudulent this situation really is.

If you are going to label the gun control fight as "Common Sense
Gun Laws"...then VP Joe Biden cannot be your spokesman. Telling
people to go buy a shotgun and shoot...will not be considered a
misinterpretation for turning the porch light on and dialing 911.
George Zimmerman's attorney is looking for Joe's number!

If you are a Conservative...you must admit how much you enjoy
sex!  Or at least admit, "you are the father", with some family
values, and not a creepy Uncle that shows up staring from a distance
at the school playground when your stance against abortion may
have come back to haunt you. Kennedy may have set the bar for
the Dems with Marilyn, and Clinton wishes he hadn't lowered it with
Monica --but who would have thought that Conservatives Pete
Domenici, Strom Thurmond, Newt Gingrich and Mark Sanford were
the inspiration for the movie "Hangover". Somebody needs to tell
these guys that the "Don't ask Don't Tell" policy wasn't for them. I am
beginning to think the only only reason they pushed so hard for Photo
ID laws, was to make sure they weren't sleeping with anyone underage!

And finally, we have to stop using mental illness as an excuse for our
own ill behavior.

Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. pled guilty this week
to stealing over $750,000 dollars from campaign contributors over the
past six years...and of course... took responsibility, but inferred that
much of the blame at his sentencing hearing will be directed to being
Bi-polar, instead of greed, arrogance or lack of moral character.

I don't know Mr. Jackson, and I hope he gets all the help and treatment that
he needs. But whatever happened to sane people that just did insane
things, got caught and went to jail? Now, no one can violate the ten
commandments, never mind the law, without being under the influence,
over medicated, or in between therapy sessions.

Joseph Smith heard voices and founded Mormonism. Today, he would be put on 
Prozac and an episode of Dr. Phil. All too often, children fail at school , are put
on ADHD medication, while their parents are waiting for the prescription
of Oxycontin to be filled. The only people who want drugs and can't get
them are all the potheads waiting for it to become legalized!

Mental Illness is a serious issue, but how can we treat it seriously, how can
we help those that are in real need, if we don't take responsibility for
our own behavior every time we get in trouble or fail to live up to our
own expectations...call me crazy, maybe?...I rather you call me
accountable for my own actions!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why I Blame George Bush for the Sequester



Movie stars are forever immortalized on the Silver Screen, musicians
through their recordings and athletes in the record books...but it is a
President, that wants to leave behind a legacy.

Considering that Lincoln's legacy will always be his courage in "freeing
the slaves", Roosevelt's on how he transformed a nation with "The New
Deal", and Kennedy's for being a restrained and precise decision maker
during the height of the "Cuban Missile Crisis"...one can certainly
understand why President Obama does not want a failed "sequester"
to be any part of his own story.

As President George W. Bush opens his Presidential Library, his legacy
is also beginning to emerge, as either the President who grabbed the
the bullhorn atop the rubble of a devastated nation, or the man who
grabbed our attention with enough bullsh#t, to take us to war with Iraq
under the most grievous of false pretenses.

Historians like to say that we are entitled to our own opinions but not
our own facts...but according to the new book and documentary "Hubris"
by Michael Isakoff and David Korn..it appears that the Bush Administration
also felt entitled to carry out their policies in spite of the facts and by
manipulating everyone else's opinion.

Time after time, "Hubris" portrays a pattern of reported information being
analyzed and discredited by the appropriate government agency, and then
the information being presented on national television by Administration
officials... as an indisputable reason for going to war.

All culminating in a speech by Colin Powell to the United Nations and the
world, that contained knowingly false information on the fact that Iraq had
obtained aluminum tubes and uranium to develop nuclear weapons, and had
the ability to launch them through a sophisticated mobile delivery system.

When in fact, Angry Birds was more of a threat to the crops in Farmville,
than Saddam Hussein was to the United States of America.

It just might be his legacy that all of his accusations were correct, he just
had the wrong country...as it is Iran that has proven to have pursued a
nuclear program and to have been a state sponsor of terrorism throughout
the world.

But this legacy of "false pretense" did not begin on September 11th...but
arguably was forged on the very day Mr. Bush was selected by the Supreme
Court instead of elected to be the 43rd President of the United States.

If your Presidency begins under a "cloud" or "false pretense", than maybe
that is a prognosticator of what your legacy is destined to become.

So, a President who wanted his legacy to be, "he kept America safe"...
will instead be defined by the fact he ignored a memo, warning of the
9/11attack, and as Commander in Chief suffered the most casualties
on American soil since Pearl Harbor.

A President who wanted his legacy to be that he protected American
freedoms, will be faced with the reality that he actually lessened them
through the Patriot Act and with the authorization of enhanced interrogation
techniques and torture.

A President who wanted his legacy to be "Mission Accomplished", was instead
forced to wait for the next President to bring the troops home and kill Osama
Bin-Laden.

But his legacy would not be limited in scope to a wartime President overreaching
in defense of a nation.

This is the very same President whose legacy will be telling "Brownie" what a
good job he was doing during Hurricane Katrina, while overseeing the worst
government response to a natural disaster since "chads" started flooding out
from among Florida voting booths.

A President who will forever be known for losing 2.5 million jobs in his last 3
months in office, tax cuts and a prescription drug program that helped forfeit
a 5 trillion dollar budget surplus, and a "No Child Left Behind" educational program
that was only further behind an economy that wasn't just driven into a ditch, but
was on a "Journey to the Center of the Earth".

But what has proven so far to be his most lasting impression...his most enduring
flame that burns to this day...is that he was the original "Divider and not a Uniter".

Extreme partisan politics, red state - blue state - Fox News and and a right wing
radio, that came alive when Karl Rove started to wear his Monica Lewinsky blue dress
at every Washington DC halloween party,...became part of main stream culture under
the Bush Administration. So mainstream, that Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh are now
being accused by the "Tea Party" of not being conservative enough.

Today, in less than a period of 18 months, the sequester of across the board tax
cuts which was designed as a "Political Armageddon" that would force both sides to
the negotiating table rather than face the consequences of not reaching an agreement,
...is no longer an impossible alternative, but just another part of the legacy of a past
Presidency that believed in a United Political Party at the expense of a Divided Nation.

That is why it is important to remember that a "legacy" is not just a rearview look at
history... but a constant building block that lays a foundation for the future.

And that even though a President may be spoken about in terms of a "Legacy", we
are the ones, who ultimately will own it and have to live with its consequences.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Medicaid: Is Rick Scott the Heart of the Problem?



When the average life expectancy was only 65 years old, Florida was known
for having the oldest city in America - St. Augustine, and the oldest New
Yorkers in Miami who can still walk and chew a corn beef sandwich on rye.

Today modern medicine has changed the expectations of the "Golden Years"
into a "Double Diamond Jubilee" and according to the latest Taco Bell commercial,
inspired Florida's Dell Web residents to be more interested in a tattoo parlor
than a beauty parlor...and running to Master P, instead of running water...
...to make it happen.

While Medicare has extended our "Midlife Crisis" to an age where we will
most likely have trouble remembering it, Medicaid, was a program designed
to help people who couldn't afford insurance...get to any midlife at all!

So, when Florida elected Governor Rick Scott in 2010, the former CEO of
Hospital Corporation of America, one might have thought there would be
no one more passionate, no person more committed, nobody more willing
to bring healthcare to those in need...while understanding the value and
financial impact that a strong and affordable healthcare program could
have on Florida's economy, than someone like Mr. Scott, who's vast wealth
and accomplishments were achieved...in that very field of expertise.

After all, one would think that Florida, home to the "Happiest Place on Earth"
...would be a much happier place if it's residents were alive a little longer!
Alive and well enough to spend their money on homes, cars and restaurants,
instead of the two illegal immigrants that will be hired by Forest Lawn to
tend for their "perpetual care".

One might think the State that invented "Medical Tourism" with nothing more
than sunshine and oranges, would be the leading edge purveyor of a "Medical
Care Utopia", promising to help their population turn over for a better tan, as
long as possible, and no longer be known as the State where people turn over in
their grave!

But it seems that Gov. Rick Scott is more interested in building a history as a
true conservative than a legacy of building a true bridge between private health
care and public responsibility!

While many Republican Governors have now accepted Obamacare and the expansion
of Medicaid, like a Deer accepts hunting season...Mr. Scott continues to script ideology
as a painful prescription for a State that has more than 4 million residents without
health care.

As CEO of Hospital Corporation of America, Mr. Scott would never have rejected a
business proposal where a business partner, in this case the government, offers to
pay 100% of the cost of a expanding a program of offering free medical care to its
patients for the first 3 years, and than 9 out of every 10 dollars of the cost of the
program in all the ensuing years thereafter

Yet, as CEO of the State of Florida...he did just that!

As CEO of Hospital Corporation of America, Mr. Scott would never have rejected 96.5
million dollars in free government grants that ranged from, home visits for new mothers,
teen pregnancy and STD prevention, Hospice care for Children and cancer prevention for
their patients?

Yet, as CEO of the State of Florida...he did just that!

And when he was CEO of Hospital Corporation of America and as CEO of the State of
Florida, Mr. Scott has repeatedly said, "we need to shrink the cost of health care and
expand opportunities for people to get a job so more people can afford it."

So his version of a private and public partnership, is to reduce the cost of health care by
simply making it as unavailable as possible to the people who can't afford it. ...a win, win
for everyone!

Government spends less money, Private Hospitals spend less on patients, and patients
spend less time expecting anything from its government!

Unlike the failure of universal health care...this philosophy can universally reach all levels
of state government!

According to the March/April issue of Mother Jones, Mr. Scott has cut 3 billion dollars from
education, 615 million dollars for homeless veterans, meals for seniors, whooping cough
vaccines for low income mothers, and an independent living center for the developmentally
disabled.

Rumor has it, he also proposed cutting millions of dollars from the State Organ Donor
Program because he said having a heart... isn't really necessary.

The goal seem to be to have a government for the people, by the people and without the
people...I just hope the State of Florida can soon have a government without Rick Scott!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

If the Republicans are Married to the Filibuster - Can We See the Pre-nup?


Famed motivational speaker Tony Robbins professes, "that for things
to change, you have to change"...well that helps explain what happened
during adolescence...but more importantly what didn't happen with
Republicans in Congress.

Ever since the election, we have been hearing that Republicans will
change and be putting forward a kinder and gentler face...but the
face that we have seen so far, is in dire need of a little "Pro-Active
Solution".

Change didn't work so well for the new voice of the GOP's Marco Rubio,
as he demonstrated his own version of unintended water-torture, while
trying to resuscitate the message of compassionate conservatism.

And we saw the old faces of John McCain, Lindsey Graham and John
Boehner, struggle with change, as we watched them attack Hillary
Clinton, Chuck Hagel and John Brennan with such force, that each
one of them will now have their own Drone named in their honor.

Even older lines of Republican dogma have made their way back and of
course failed to change the conversation, such as, "you have a better
chance of raising the Titanic than raising taxes, immigration sounds
more like a debate about spending cuts verse revenue with Republicans
being more concerned about what you can get rid of than what you can
bring in, and as far as climate change, no problem, it will just make it
easier to drill for oil... once all the ice melts.

A new Republican Party? There are some things that are best destined to
be frozen in time. We will forever remember the iconic beauty of Marilyn
Monroe and James Dean, the timeless image of the Empire State Building,
and Chris Christie and Rush Limbaugh Sumo Wrestling for the last good
idea inside the fortune cookie at their favorite Chinese Restaurant.

The Republicans are not going to change, even when hell freezes over,
because they are already living there!...and they kind of like it!

President Obama has more than changed...he is unchained, wanting to
create a legacy that is not limited by the small mindedness of his opponents,
but measured by the vast accomplishments he is able to achieve!

But the President will need to change more than his approach, but the
strategy of his Party in order to have any chance of having a Presidency
worthy of his opportunities.

First, the President will need to have Harry Reid trigger the nuclear option
on the Senate Filibuster that will be send a shockwave so powerful that it
will pause Dick Cheney's new heart.

The President reminded us in his Inauguration of, "the urgency of now"
and spoke of the fact that we, "deserve a vote", in his State of the Union.

This single stand alone action will say, that the status quo will not stand. And
even though America's government may be broken...the "Will" of its President
is not, nor that of the American people.

No more agencies without a Chairman.
No more seats on the federal bench without appointments.
No more denying a President a vote on his own choices for a Cabinet seat.
And no longer, the Majority of the United States Senate being controlled
by a small group of Senators who think waiting to pass legislation should be like
be like standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Second, the Senate begins passing legislation that the American people have
clearly demonstrated they believe in. If the House refuses to bring it up for
a vote...than you have set up a reason why the American people should return
the House back to Democratic control.

The American people will vote for a cause...they won't vote for the idea of a cause.
Build an unanswered legislative agenda in Congress and you can build an army to
turn out the vote at the mid-term elections.

Finally, let President Johnson have the War on Poverty, Nixon the War on Drugs
and Bush the War on Terror...Let this President take no prisoners and win the War
on ineffective government... and he will win the most important War of all.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Marco Rubio - I should have had a V8; Obama - passion, principle & purpose

Experts agree that in spite of hundreds of millions of dollars spent on political ads,
candidates' positions on controversial issues, or whether you identify
yourself as a Republican or a Democrat...people vote for the person they
would most likely want to have dinner or a beer with.

After watching the President last night, let me just say...I'll have whatever
he's having, because Marco Rubio had either one too many jalapenos or he
was experiencing global warming right there on live TV. That was more
uncomfortable than watching the geeky kid kiss the Supermodel in the
GoDaddylive.com Super Bowl commercial.

And having dinner with Rand Paul, would probably be as much fun as sitting
in for Judas at "The Last Supper."

The President said last night, "we deserve a vote", when in fact we actually
have deserved much more than that. Four years and two elections later, a
Progressive, Liberal, unapologetic Democrat, showed up at The State of the
Union and articulated with passion, principle and purpose, what it means to
be a Democrat.

No longer were we dining on old fashioned meat and potato Republican policies
flavored with Democratic ideas because it was the cheapest item on the menu
or the easiest to digest.

Once again we were feasting on Big Ideas and even Bigger possibilities...not
simply choking on the debate of big government with small politicians.

Speaking of small politicians, I would have thought "Republican" Supreme Court,
Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito would have been big enough to at least give up
their bowling night!

Just as Republicans had so successfully moved the "middle" to the "right of
center", the President moved the conversation back, not to whether his vision
for America is a bold and grand idea...but how can we afford to pay for it!

And an argument about smart government and cost is a lot more winnable
than an argument about direction.

Republicans found themselves agreeing so much with the President last night
that Ted Nugent and Wayne LaPierre will now be the new Viking Warriors in
the next Alec Baldwin Capital One Credit Card commercial.

Which is why the President must now capitalize on this moment by answering his
own call for leadership and not depend on citizenship to lead the charge.