Entries Tagged as 'Politics'

Mr President, now is the time to be a president.

There is a good article on CNN.com by Donna Brazile on what President Obama could (and should) do to get the economy back on track.

I think she’s got the right idea, but I think she really stops short of just outright saying that the problem isn’t necessarily Obama’s failed programs, it’s his failed leadership.

Now is not the time to sit on the fence Mr President; you’ve tried to build a consensus with congress (you failed to do that when your party had control of both houses, and you’ve continued to fail to do that now that your party doesn’t)… it’s time for you to lead — or to step aside and let someone else do so.

The problems this country has are solvable; but every day we wait to start moving down a path that is likely to put us on the road to get American’s working and to pay down the enormous debt that Republicans and Democrats alike have saddle the current (and future) generation(s) with we simply make the problem harder — and at some point there will not be a solution, the US will simply drift into the fray of third world countries never likely to regain it’s position as a real world leader again.

So, Mr President — be the president; make the hard choices; and move this country forward… it’s not the time to be a politician or a two term hopeful, it’s time to be a president.

 


4 ways Obama can take control to get America back on track by Donna Brazile on CNN.com

Originally posted 2011-08-17 02:00:42.

Infrastructure

President Obama is now asking Congress for at least $50 billion in long-term investments in the nation’s roads, railways, and runways.

Whether the timing is just a political ploy for the election or not doesn’t matter — this country needs to put people to work, and this country needs to improve the crumbling infrastructure that hasn’t been a focus since the 1960’s.

The specifics of his plan include rebuilding 150,000 miles of roads, constructing and maintaining 4,000 miles of railways, building high-speed rail systems, and repairing 150 miles of airport runways (while also upgrading the nation’s air traffic system).

The plan also creates a permanent infrastructure fund that would focus on national and regional infrastructure projects to keep momentum behind continuous infrastructure improvements.

This spending package is very different from the initial stimulus package; where as the stimulus package focused on spending to prop up the sagging economy in the short term, these infrastructure projects are long term investments in the country and the economy and likely would not show substantial job increases for several months.

In short, President Obama’s Labor Day announcement is intended to get American labor back to work — permanently.

Originally posted 2010-09-08 02:00:19.

Do Not Mail Initiatives

In the United States we have a “Do Not Call” list that’s moderately effective at reducing marketing calls for those of us who don’t want them (though politicians notably made an exception for themselves)… but we don’t have a “Do Not Mail” list… and we should.

Organizations like the Direct Marketing Association lobby congress heavily to keep their mail rates cheap and prevent any legislation from standing in the way of their members from killing millions of trees, littering our mail boxes with “junk mail”, and wasting energy to produce – distribute – collect – and hopefully recycle all that garbage.

For several years now legislation has been pending that would greatly limit direct mail marketing (in much the same way as telephone marketing) — write your representatives in Washington DC and tell them YOU want legislation that will give you control over your mail box.

NOTE:  In all fairness, the Direct Marketing Association does offer a “Mail Preference Service” to consumers, and does require that it’s members use those preferences when mailing materials.  However, they make it difficult for consumers to enter their addresses and there are questions as to how effect self regulation has been.

Originally posted 2008-11-01 12:00:03.

Dick Cheney complains about lying in the White House

The Washington Post has an amusing video to a statement Dick Cheney made in reference to the White House lying with respect to the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (oddly he never expressed a similar feeling about White House lying while he was in office).

 

December 10, 2013 7:52 PM EST — The former V.P. is offended of being lied to about Obamacare (The Washington Post)


 

Originally posted 2013-12-11 18:00:41.

Barack Obama, The 44th President of the United States of America

I didn’t start out in the last election as an Obama fan, and I guess I’m still not a “fan” — I do have a great deal of respect for the man; he’s kept a very consistent stand on almost all the issues, he speaks well, he thinks through problems, and he surrounds himself with the best and the brightest (even when they may not be the closest aligned to him and his way of thinking).

But that’s not really the reason.  If you look at Obama, who he is, what his background is… and consider the American public — he shouldn’t have won the election by the margin he did (in fact, you could argue he shouldn’t have won).

The American people have reached a point where it’s clear they don’t want to continue down the same path; they don’t even want to be going the same direction — by reaching out to Obama they’re signaling their desire for change, major change.

My personal feeling is that the course of this country was irrevocably changed by FDR, but it wasn’t his band-aide approach to the problems that really turned the country around, it was WW2… but the “grand society” became well entrenched, and grew and morphed and consumed… but never really addressed the core problems with our society.

Obama appears to be willing to re-invent the “great society” and change it so that it addresses the fundamental needs of Americans, and provides them with programs that work, rather than programs that reward them for not working.

While I’m far from a Socialist, this country is far from a free-market capitalist society — we’re already fairly far down the road to socialist programs on a number of fronts — the problem being is that once you start down that road, you need to insure that you have controls and safety nets in place on all the roads, or those who are looking to take advantage of the system have outs (and let’s face it, the reason that pure Socialism doesn’t work is greed… and that’s really what you have to put checks and balances in place to moderate).

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with greed, it’s been a great motivator in our society; however, those that reap must sow — and those that make money at the expense of society must be ready to pay back for the damages they cause.

Also, Obama keeps reinforcing that we are part of a global community, so he seems to understand that we (America) can’t solve the problems of the world, nor can we even solve the problems of America without working with the rest of the world.

The biggest problem I see, is that Obama, like Hoover, takes over a country on the brink of economic and social failure — and the American people are not known for patience, consistency, or commitment…

I guess there’s a little optimist left in me that’s winning over the realist — I think he will be re-elected in four years, and he will begin to lay a new foundation to give our society a second chance, and break the historical stereotype of failed civilizations…

Originally posted 2009-01-20 12:00:07.

May Day

May Day, or the 1st of May (not the call for help) is celebrated to mark several different events in many parts of the world.

In much of the world it is synonymous with International Workers’ Day or Labour Day, but the oldest references to May Day is related to the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night.

While the basis of the celebration might be pagan, the Christians usurped it (as they did with many others)  to be more in keeping with the teachings of their church.

Whether your interest is in International Workers’ Day or Labour Day or the Celtic festival of Beltane or the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night or pagan/neopagan festivals such as Samhain…

Take a moment and read up on the many facets of May Day… and take a moment to celebrate the day in any and every way you choose!

But for me, May Day marks the end of Winter and the start of Spring.

May Day on Wikipedia


May Day

Originally posted 2010-05-01 02:00:53.

Tax on the super rich.

There is a good read in The Fiscal Times, an article by Bruce Bartlett that looks at the argument over Warren Buffet’s statement about raising taxes on the super rich.

It’s a one-dimensional argument; but it does bring into question the pillar of the argument has been used to support lowering the tax rate on the super rich.

One thing I will note before sending you off to read this — it’s not the tax rate so much we should be thinking of, but the effective tax rate.  When large corporations and wealthy individuals pay their taxes they often take advantage of numerous deductions that ordinary people cannot (so called loop-holes)… so their effective tax rate ends up being near zero.

I personally think that a tiered flat tax (with no deductions/exemptions), or a value added tax (assessed at each point a good or service is transferred) are the better solutions to creating a tax system that is far less expensive to implement/enforce, and much fairer overall to everyone.

If the current system is kept, not only do the tax brackets need to be changed (as well as the way they work), but the entire tax code needs to be overhauled to remove the loop-holes (and simplify it).

Buffet May Be Right, but the Top Tax Rate is Wrong by Bruce Bartlett, The Fiscal Times

Originally posted 2011-08-20 02:00:28.

I’m mad as hell…

and not going to take it any longer is the phrase we’ve heard from the silver screen when it comes to the breakdown of our political system.

One thing to keep in mind is that the people you elect (or maybe I should say the people who find their way to “public” office — since recent history tells us they might not always be elected) don’t know what’s on your mind unless you tell them.

Sure they look at polls and surveys and listen to the media — but pollsters, surveyors, and the media have their own agenda — and are often funded by big business to make sure their interests are put in the spotlight (favorably).

The best way to let your elected officials know your feelings are to contact them.

When you do contact them; make sure you’ve written a clear and concise message.  Keep it simple — you don’t need to include any extraneous details or information that reasonable people would be aware of.  Tell them who you are if you’re someone who’s “professional” view on the topic would give it additional credibility.  Make sure any specific details (including enough to identify the legislation or initiative) is included; again if you have information that may not be available provide the facts.  Close your message with the specific action(s) you’d like to see taken.  If you want a response, include your contact information so that they can reply to you.

Contacting the Congress of the United States is fairly easy

Your Senator may be contacted written correspondence at

The Honorable <Full Name>
<Room #> <Building Name> Senate Office Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

If you don’t know your Senator’s name or location information or you’d prefer to try and contact them electronically, you can visit

http://senate.gov/

Your Representative may be contacted written correspondence at

The Honorable <Full Name>
<Room #> <Building Name> House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

If you don’t know your Representative’s name or location information or you’d prefer to try and contact them electronically, you can visit

http://house.gov/

Your President may be contacted at

http://whitehouse.gov/

NOTE:  President Obama seems to encourage electronic contact over written letters , but if you must (though they request you email address, even if you send a letter)

President Barrack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

I’ll close by saying you should avoid vulgarity, profanity and threats (which might get you a visit from the Secret Service, or a “vacation” at “Club Fed”)… it’s fine to underscore your frustration or anger, but do it in a calm, reasonable way and treat the individual with respect (even if you don’t feel their actions have earned your respect).

If you need more help, you can locate examples of letters about issues on the Internet, and simply use one of those as the basis for your contact.

Originally posted 2010-07-24 02:00:00.

When American big business is behind something…

I’ve been around the block a few times, and I tend to pay attention.

One thing that’s almost an invariant in the world is that if American big business is behind legislation it’s because it serves their own interest and greed — not the public interest.

The only thing American big business cares about the public for is finding new ways to milk money from them and insure that the public pay more than their share of taxes.

With very few exceptions American business (and the ultra-rich American’s that run those businesses) are self-serving, and only looking out for their interests and profits.  They are motivated by greed.

So when the pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, large hospitals, and health care industry get behind a plan that doesn’t seem to improve anything for the American public it should be clear to everyone who they’re looking to improve things for.

The real problem in America is that special interest groups run the country; and almost all politicians who’ve been in office more than two terms (and most presidents) cater to their interests and don’t want to really change the status quo.

Those who are elected to serve the public interest actually serve no interests but their own!

– Caveat civis –

Originally posted 2010-03-13 02:00:48.

Debunking Canadian health care myths

The following is an except from a Denver Post opinion article by Rhonda Hackett (a clinical psychologist born in Canada, living in the US)

Myth: Taxes in Canada are extremely high, mostly because of national health care.

In actuality, taxes are nearly equal on both sides of the border. Overall, Canada’s taxes are slightly higher than those in the U.S. However, Canadians are afforded many benefits for their tax dollars, even beyond health care (e.g., tax credits, family allowance, cheaper higher education), so the end result is a wash. At the end of the day, the average after-tax income of Canadian workers is equal to about 82 percent of their gross pay. In the U.S., that average is 81.9 percent.

Myth: Canada’s health care system is a cumbersome bureaucracy.

The U.S. has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, etc. The provincial single-payer system in Canada operates with just a 1 percent overhead. Think about it. It is not necessary to spend a huge amount of money to decide who gets care and who doesn’t when everybody is covered.

Myth: The Canadian system is significantly more expensive than that of the U.S.Ten percent of Canada’s GDP is spent on health care for 100 percent of the population. The U.S. spends 17 percent of its GDP but 15 percent of its population has no coverage whatsoever and millions of others have inadequate coverage. In essence, the U.S. system is considerably more expensive than Canada’s. Part of the reason for this is uninsured and underinsured people in the U.S. still get sick and eventually seek care. People who cannot afford care wait until advanced stages of an illness to see a doctor and then do so through emergency rooms, which cost considerably more than primary care services.

What the American taxpayer may not realize is that such care costs about $45 billion per year, and someone has to pay it. This is why insurance premiums increase every year for insured patients while co-pays and deductibles also rise rapidly.

Myth: Canada’s government decides who gets health care and when they get it.While HMOs and other private medical insurers in the U.S. do indeed make such decisions, the only people in Canada to do so are physicians. In Canada, the government has absolutely no say in who gets care or how they get it. Medical decisions are left entirely up to doctors, as they should be.

There are no requirements for pre-authorization whatsoever. If your family doctor says you need an MRI, you get one. In the U.S., if an insurance administrator says you are not getting an MRI, you don’t get one no matter what your doctor thinks — unless, of course, you have the money to cover the cost.

Myth: There are long waits for care, which compromise access to care.There are no waits for urgent or primary care in Canada. There are reasonable waits for most specialists’ care, and much longer waits for elective surgery. Yes, there are those instances where a patient can wait up to a month for radiation therapy for breast cancer or prostate cancer, for example. However, the wait has nothing to do with money per se, but everything to do with the lack of radiation therapists. Despite such waits, however, it is noteworthy that Canada boasts lower incident and mortality rates than the U.S. for all cancers combined, according to the U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group and the Canadian Cancer Society. Moreover, fewer Canadians (11.3 percent) than Americans (14.4 percent) admit unmet health care needs.

Myth: Canadians are paying out of pocket to come to the U.S. for medical care.Most patients who come from Canada to the U.S. for health care are those whose costs are covered by the Canadian governments. If a Canadian goes outside of the country to get services that are deemed medically necessary, not experimental, and are not available at home for whatever reason (e.g., shortage or absence of high tech medical equipment; a longer wait for service than is medically prudent; or lack of physician expertise), the provincial government where you live fully funds your care. Those patients who do come to the U.S. for care and pay out of pocket are those who perceive their care to be more urgent than it likely is.

Myth: Canada is a socialized health care system in which the government runs hospitals and where doctors work for the government.Princeton University health economist Uwe Reinhardt says single-payer systems are not “socialized medicine” but “social insurance” systems because doctors work in the private sector while their pay comes from a public source. Most physicians in Canada are self-employed. They are not employees of the government nor are they accountable to the government. Doctors are accountable to their patients only. More than 90 percent of physicians in Canada are paid on a fee-for-service basis. Claims are submitted to a single provincial health care plan for reimbursement, whereas in the U.S., claims are submitted to a multitude of insurance providers. Moreover, Canadian hospitals are controlled by private boards and/or regional health authorities rather than being part of or run by the government.

Myth: There aren’t enough doctors in Canada.

From a purely statistical standpoint, there are enough physicians in Canada to meet the health care needs of its people. But most doctors practice in large urban areas, leaving rural areas with bona fide shortages. This situation is no different than that being experienced in the U.S. Simply training and employing more doctors is not likely to have any significant impact on this specific problem. Whatever issues there are with having an adequate number of doctors in any one geographical area, they have nothing to do with the single-payer system.

Originally posted 2010-03-10 02:00:43.