Congress

United States Defaults On Debt To Its Veterans

If a nation cannot afford to tend to the physical and psychological wounds suffered by its soldiers in war, then that nation simply cannot afford to go to war.

Such is the current situation in the United States. And it is beyond shameful. The amount of money we commit to spending on new weapons systems is measured in the trillions. Yet somehow, Congress cannot manage to fully fund appropriate medical and psychological treatment for wounded veterans. What exactly do the politicians mean when they proudly proclaim that they “Support Our Troops”?

I’ve started the following petition on the White House website. If it gets 100,000 signatures in the next few weeks, the White House will officially respond. And maybe that will be a start. Nothing else seems to be working – in this country that talks a good game about the price our veterans have paid for our “liberty and freedom”. It is time for the government to shoulder its share of the burden. You don’t have to support war, but we must acknowledge the horrific cost of our wars and help those who bear that cost. It is a debt we owe them. And we have been defaulting on that debt.

Please click on the link below and sign the petition. And if you are not an American, I hope you’ll repost this link on WordPress and other social media for your American friends to see. Thanks all.

http://wh.gov/i0c1C

What If Our Dead Kids *DO* Trump Your Gun Rights?

In the farce that was the 2008 campaign of John McCain and Sarah Palin, one of the main fools was played by Joe the Plumber. Well, his name wasn’t Joe. And he wasn’t a plumber. But that was the stage name of Samuel Wurzelbacher of Ohio. He was the hood ornament on the Fox-sponsored GOP clown car that year.

Last Friday, a deranged man went on a slashing and shooting rampage, killing six young people near the UC Santa Barbara campus. He then committed suicide, leaving behind a video and a 140-page manifesto that expresses a shockingly demented hatred of women.

Just days later, the country is still reeling from the savagery of this crime, the killer’s unhinged misogyny and the soul-numbing reality of yet another mass shooting of young people in America. But today is the day that ‘Joe the Plumber’ published an “open letter to the parents of the victims” of the Santa Barbara spree. And here is what Mr Wurzelbacher wants the parents – and all of us – to know:

“Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”

I was certain this was some kind of inappropriate sick satire.

But no, this is a verbatim quote from his letter published on Barbwire.com – which (naturally) boasts “a decidedly biblical worldview”. As you might imagine, this unconscionable affront to the grieving parents of murdered children has set half of the internet on fire… while the other half pours gasoline.

Wait a minute though. I think there is tremendous power in this twisted slur. Think about it. He declares something to be true: Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights. But I think Mr Not-A-Plumber got it exactly wrong. Our dead kids DO trump your gun rights.

Our dead kids. They have names. Cassie, Steve, Corey, Kelly, Matt, Daniel, Rachel, Isaiah, John, Daniel, Lauren, Kyle, Areceli, Kristi, Shawn, Joseph, Cassandra, Susan, Justin, Kayla, Bryan, Randy, Aaron, Seth, James, Bart, Alicia, Thurlene, Chanelle, Chase, Dewayne, Emily, Naomi, Marian, Anna Mae, Lena, Mary Liz, Kirsten, Emily, Ryan, Ross, Brian, Austin, Daniel, Matthew, Caitlin, Rachel, Emily, Matthew, Jarrett, Henry, Lauren, Daniel, Erin, Michael, Julia, Mary Karen, Reema, Leslie, Maxine, Nicole, Catalina, Ryanne, Daniel, Gayle, Ryan, Chavares, Christina, Daniel, Russell, Demetrius, Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, Ana, James, Grace, Emily, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin, Allison, Claire, Trayvon, Jordan, Katie, Chris, Veronika… and so many thousands more.

The horrifying fact is that 8 children every day are murdered with a gun in America. In the 15 years since Columbine, more than 43,800 children have been shot to death. In their homes, in their neighborhoods, in their schools, in their churches, in their cinemas and malls. Their short lives, ended, with a bullet.

There is only one way to honor the memory of our kids who have been murdered with guns. There is only one way to give them a voice. There is only one way to save a child – maybe yours – from being murdered with a gun. We must change the laws to more effectively regulate the sale and possession of firearms and ammunition in this country.

What makes this entire situation so galling is that it is a failure of political will. After the massacre of babies at Sandy Hook, various incremental and sensible gun control laws were supported by 70% to 90% of the American people. But the 535 members of the House and Senate were unable to pass anything at all. And the President caved to the political status quo. in the year-and-a-half since Newtown, there has been something on the order of 15,000 gun homicides… 4,000 of the dead are kids under 18.

My friend Peter suggests a simple yet powerful idea: a pledge. Similar to the “Taxpayer Proection Pledge” that Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform have used to successfully bludgeon politicians for 20 years now. It could be implemented immediately and at almost zero cost by an existing gun control advocacy group such as Moms Demand Action. We are in the midst of an election year. Every member of Congress is up for reelection along with 1/3 of the Senate. That is nearly 1,000 candidates for Congress, all drawn to the glare of the tv lights. Take the pledge to each of them, at every campaign stop. Democrats. Republicans. Incumbents. Challengers. Send it to all of their campaigns. Give them a week to return the signed pledge. And then, confront them. Loudly. Publicly. Notify the local media. Ask them to sign the pledge, or to explain why they won’t. It might look something like this:

kids.bulletproof.pledge

When 70% or 80% or 90% of Americans want various gun control measures, they should get done. Notwithstanding the NRA’s threats, bribes and extortion. NRA pretends to represent gun owners, but they are paid lobbyists for the gun manufacturers and sellers. Their job is to make America safe for guns. It is the job of Congress to make America safe for Americans. And we must start by defending our children’s lives.

Should our politicians be held to account on gun control issues through the use of a pledge like this? Is there a better way to do it? I’m only interested in constructive ideas. You can spout off about your 2nd Amendment rights… but you should really go do that somewhere else. It’ll never see the light of day on this page.

kids.bulletproof

The End (so far)

 

Electile Dysfunction

Because this blog enjoys a global audience – and you know who you are – not everyone who will see this erectile-dysfunction-onoffpost is subject to the daily onslaught of American tv commercials for pharmaceuticals. Unless this is a worldwide phenomenon?

What I do know is this: if an advanced alien civilization is monitoring our broadcasts, they should be forgiven for thinking that the greatest threat facing the human species is erectile dysfunction. Or that our happiness is being destroyed by an evil flaccid little man named ‘ED’. (The aliens may also be hopelessly addicted to Scandal… but that’s another post.)

As a public service, then, here is a tv commercial for Cialis, a prescription medication which treats the dreaded erectile dysfunction. (Americans see this commercial approximately 17 times per hour of tv watched.)

 

Now, 2014 being an important year in American electoral politics, campaign commercials are beginning to crowd out even the pharmaceutical pitches. (If only there were a drug that could shrink inflamed politicians…) Every one of the 435 members of the House of Representatives is up for re-election in john-boehner.gavelNovember, as they are every two years. (Which founding father thought that was a good idea?) This includes the current Speaker of the House, Mr John Boehner, Republican from Ohio’s 8th District.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is a vastly powerful position exercising singlehanded control over what comes up for a vote in the House; and s/he who holds the Speaker’s gavel is second in line of succession to the presidency after the Vice President. It’s a big deal. And when your little Congressional district is represented by a member of Congress who also happens to be the sitting Speaker of the House, your district tends to re-elect him or her. Otherwise, you’d be trading in your Very Extremely Powerful Representative for a low-man-on-the-totem-pole pipsqueak. In fact, the sitting Speaker has only been defeated for re-election twice in our history. So, the opposition party will put up a brave-but-doomed candidate as cannon fodder. But I don’t know that a Speaker has ever been challenged by a member of his own party in a primary.

That is exactly what John Boehner is facing in OH-8. Of course, he is expected to win the primary and go on to win in the general election in November. But to be challenged in a Republican primary is just a slap in the face. Who would do such a dastardly deed? Ah yes, that would be the Tea Party. The even nuttier right wing of the already nutty Republican Party. We might also rather kindly refer to these folks as the shallow end of the American gene pool. John Boehner, who has obstructed almost every single initiative of Obama’s presidency, is not ‘conservative’ enough for the Tea Party. So they are running a candidate against him in the primary, a guy by the name of J.D. Winteregg.

John Boehner is generally regarded as the least impressive Speaker in American history, presiding over the demonstrably least effective Congress in our history. But he has been an absolute gift to cartoonists, comedians and political satirists. Here is all you need to know about John Boehner:

1. His name is pronounced BAY-ner. No, not BO-ner. C’mon you guys!

1b. If “boner” is not a commonly used slang term in your native language, click here.

Michelle Mag Boehner22. The color of his skin is some inexplicable shade of orange that is not found in nature. Even in winter. He has repeatedly insisted that he does not use tanning equipment or products. Repeatedly. Insisted. Does not. Perhaps it is jaundice? (See #6, below.)

3. He is a fanatical golfer. Which is to say that he plays golf more than he passes laws. Actually, he has probably sunk more holes-in-one than he has passed laws. Will someone fact check that for me? Thanks.

4. He is an unapologetic chain smoker.

boehner crying5. He cries. Oh, I don’t mean that he sheds an appropriate tear at the most emotional times of his life. No. The man sobs. Frequently. Publicly. So much so that he has been called the Leaker of the House, and the Weeper of the House. Click on the picture of the crying John of Orange for more.

6. And while this is merely my own observation – which may coincidentally be shared by many millions of others – it seems obvious to me that John Boehner is also a raging alcoholic.

Alrighty, let’s bring this baby in for a landing, shall we? Remember Boehner’s primary challenger, J.D. Winteregg? (There’s a link to his campaign website at the end of this post, if we both live that long…) No one on earth, outside of the Winteregg family, ever would have known of this guy. But then he ran this campaign commercial. BOOM! The new shot heard ’round the world. Social media gold.

When The Moment Is Right

“If you have a Boehner lasting more than 23 years, seek immediate medical attention.”

J.D. Winteregg (www.jdwinteregg.com) is an imbecile who would be dangerous if he had access to any amount of power. But then again, so is Boehner – who has done more damage to the American economy and what is left of the middle class than anyone in recent history. America’s politics have gone off the end of the absurdity scale, primarily because the GOP has been dragged over the cliff by the racist ignorami of the Tea Party. This is a virus that will either run its course, or doom this country. In the meantime, we laugh at stupid campaign commercials. Mostly because we are just so sick of all the pharmaceutical ads.

If you are an American and you are not registered to vote, what the fuck are you waiting for? CLICK HERE.


The End (so far)

[077] HB2U! Obamacare

Obamacare, aka ACA – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama four years ago. It was an historic political and moral victory in this country, a goal that had eluded presidents of both parties for the entire 20th century.

HB2U.Obamacare

It has also been the single most misunderstood thing in American history. Opponents like to call it “government-run health care” – a claim which only underscores their ignorance, or reveals them to be liars. Obamacare can accurately be described as government-mandated health care insurance reform.

poorpeopleBasically, the federal government told the private health care insurance companies that they wouldn’t be allowed to continue with their most shockingly immoral practices, such as dropping customers when they get sick, annual and lifetime caps, non-coverage of ‘pre-existing conditions’ – including the condition of being female. It also limits these insurers to profit margins of no more than 20%, requiring refunds of premiums paid by customers if payouts for medical care fall below 80% of premium revenues. To compensate the insurers for cutting into their margins, the government promised millions of new customers to any insurers who wanted to participate in the state-based exchanges (or the federal exchange for people in states which don’t set up their own exchanges). The government set these private companies loose to play by the rules within the framework of the exchanges and compete for new customers. The insurers set their own premiums for policies offering various levels of coverage. The consumer is able to compare ‘apples to apples’ when shopping for the coverage they need at a monthly premium they can afford. There are no government hospitals, no government doctors, no government ‘death panels’.

Beyond this, the ACA also provides funding for preventive care, and market incentives for much greater efficiencies in the delivery of health care, with a major emphasis on digitizing medical records. And it vastly increased the funding available for states to expand their existing Medicaid programs to enable access to health care for millions of Americans who still cannot afford to buy private medical insurance.

put the white backThe Republican Party has taken a very principled stance against Obamacare and its author. They cannot abide any success for the nation’s first black president. And yes, it really is that horrifyingly simple. They really haven’t even tried to hide it, except for the fact that they wear their white sheets under their business suits.

The Republican-led House of Representatives has taken fifty votes to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. They know the Senate will ignore them. And even if a bill were to somehow reach the president’s desk, he would veto it. The most telling aspect of this flailing around by Boehner & Co. is this: the GOP never gets around to the “replace” part of the deal. They don’t want to replace Obamacare with anything. They just want it to go away… along with every other progressive accomplishment of the past century, including voting rights, women’s rights, gay rights, unions, etc.

confed.gopAfter the ACA was passed in 2010, the extreme right wing in this country went insane. Lunatics in tricorn hats flooded the primaries to challenge GOP incumbents who had failed to derail Obamacare. Many of them won, and went on to win in the general election that November, displacing more moderate Republicans and a fair share of Democrats. And so the ‘Tea Party’ gained a chunk of seats in the House, which switched over to GOP control. Nowhere near a majority… but overnight they became the tail that wags the Republican dog. So, for more than three years, the neutered Speaker of the House, John Boehner, has scheduled vote after vote to “repeal” Obamacare. And nothing else. He has presided over the least effective Congress in American history. And that is a crime, especially when you realize that President Obama inherited an economy that had almost completely collapsed under the Bush administration. Every other word out of Boehner’s mouth is “jobs”. How many jobs bills has the House GOP championed in the past five years? Zero.

Now here we are, 5 years after Obama was first inaugurated… 4 years after Obamacare was signed into law… 2 years after the national embarrassment of the 2012 Republican presidential primaries… and a year after Obama’s second inauguration. The upcoming 2014 midterm elections will determine whether Obama has a hostile or a cooperative Congress for the last two years of his presidency. Democrats should be BRAGGING about their accomplishments: saving the country and the world from economic catastrophe, saving the auto industry and what’s left of American manufacturing, rescuing all Americans from unscrupulous and immoral health insurance practices and widening the availability and affordability of health insurance for millions, ending two wars that have consumed thousands of lives and trillions of dollars… But instead, we are treated to a defeatist attitude predicting losses in the House and the possible loss of the slim majority in the Senate. Losing seats in the House would guarantee more-of-same, and that would be bad enough for the country. But a GOP majority in the Senate would embolden the right wing crazies and I cannot imagine the damage this nation would suffer.

DEMS LOSENote to state and national leaders of the Democratic Party:

Do you know why Barack Obama won two consecutive presidential elections? Because love is stronger than hate. People were drawn to his candidacy. So please stop talking about how bad and evil and terrible and horrible the GOP is. It’s all true! But that truth (sadly) is not going to motivate Democrats to go to the polls in November. You’ve got to give people something positive, something to fight for, something to defend. Give them something to be proud of. Run on your record, trumpet your accomplishments. Show people that Democrats work for them and their families. It’s all true!

Note to Democratic voters:

Get off your asses and vote in November! In the recent special election to fill the vacant House seat in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, the Republican won by 3,500 votes… in a district where 140,000 registered Democrats did not vote. That kind of apathy in November will do incalculable harm to this nation. All you have to do is cast your vote for the party that represents your best interests. Something the Republicans would stop you from doing, if they could.

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Obamacare – brought to you by the Democratic Party – makes me happy.

Day 077 #100happydays

 

Ten More Kids Will Be Shot Dead By Christmas

www.facebook.com/OccupyDemocrats

Occupy Democrats

If you want gun control in this country, then show the crime scene photographs of the children who are blown to bits by semi-automatic gunfire. “That’s insensitive to the familes!” Really? Their children have been murdered. They’re dead. They’re not coming back. They’re not growing up. And why? Because the will of the vast majority of Americans is nullified by a handful of lobbyists who bribe/extort a few dozen members of Congress.
    Like so many, I assumed the unprecedented HORROR at Sandy Hook Elementary would – finally – be enough to break the NRA’s hold on Congress. The country was convulsed in shock and grief. Public opinion was almost unanimous for new, effective, federal gun control laws. The president’s resolve, along with that of many in Congress, seemed unshakeable.
    And like so many, I was stunned and disgusted by the total capitulation of our national political “leadership” to the gun lobby – within mere months of Newtown.
    I also have to say this – as unpopular as it will be: I am so frustrated with all the well-meaning groups who raise money, put up websites, release videos, collect signatures on endless petitions… to what end?! I do appreciate that this activity can be extremely therapeutic for some concerned people, especially the families of the dead. I get that. But… are they just lulling the country to sleep with the illusion of doing something?
    As the first anniversary approaches, some of the families of Newtown have made an appeal for people to do an act of kindness in remembrance of the dead. An act of kindness? OK. But what about an Act of Congress?! The fact is, gun sales broke records in the year since Newtown. And 200 more kids have been murdered with guns. TWO. HUNDRED. MORE. KIDS. SHOT DEAD. The average age of these kids? Six years old. Can you even wrap your head around these statistics? I cannot. This carnage is the equivalent of about one “Newtown” every month. (click on the graphic for more details and a link to the source page)
    So, if you want gun control in this country, show the photos. Speaking truth to the NRA’s power requires our most powerful truth: the horrific, gruesome, soul-shattering photographs of dead kids in their classrooms. Or wherever they are killed by bullets fired from guns. In their living rooms. On street corners. In cinemas and malls. Wherever, whenever.The last photo taken of them is the only voice these kids can still raise against the guns that ended their lives, so young, so brutally. And for no other reason than our collective, cowardly inability to save them. Show the photos.

Anyone Else Have A Bad First Month? Anyone..?

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