Friday, July 31, 2009

Texas Governor Plans To Secede From The Federal Healthcare Program

Texas Governor Rick Perry wants no part of the Federal Healthcare Reform. He doesn't want the federal government to screw up healthcare in Texas. Perry thinks that Texas is doing better and will continue to do better on its own. Perry has been the governor of Texas for 9 years. Let's see how Perry is doing with healthcare in Texas.

1 in 4 Texans is uninsured; 25% of its population. Only 15% of all Americans are uninsured.

Texas employers insure fewer of its residents than 45 states.

Texas spends less than 44 states for healthcare per Texan.

Texas spends less than 36 states for healthcare per "insured" Texan.

Texas receives 10.4% of all Federal funding for the SCHIP program which pays healthcare expenses for children of low income families but SCHIP enrollment in Texas is only 7.4% of the U.S. enrollment. Therefore, the "Federal" cost per child in Texas is 40% higher than the national average.

Healthcare in Texas is poor.

Why then does Governor Perry feel that Texans will get better healthcare if Texas is not involved in the Federal Healthcare program? Is Governor Perry concerned that all Texans have access to affordable healthcare or is he more concerned that the healthcare industry continues to make a good profit?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

No Honor In The GOP

Barack Obama's citizenship was first challenged when he decided to run for the presidency. The accusation that he was born in Kenya rather than in Hawaii is still being made by a group of nuts referred to as Birthers. The Birther's campaign to unseat Obama because he is not a citizen has actually intensified recently. Several congressional Republicans have publicly supported the Birther's challenge. In spite of clear and legal evidence that Obama was born in the United States, these Republicans claim that they have not seen the proof of citizenship that the Birthers are demanding. The rest of the elected Republicans as well as the Republican National Committee remained completely silent on the matter until this week when an RNC spokesperson released this statement, "Chairman Steele believes that this is an unnecessary distraction and believes that the president is a U.S. citizen." Steele waited until Obama had been president for 6 months before finally coming out against the outrageous Birther accusation. The McCain campaign team never acknowledged Obama's U.S. citizenship and John McCain only did so when one of his supporters asked him if Obama was a Muslim and not an American.

You may be saying that it's politics as usual and the Democrats would do the same thing if the situation was reversed but that is not true. McCain was actually born in a foreign country - Panama - where McCain's father was serving in the U.S. Navy. When McCain opponents started challenging McCain's citizenship and right to run for the presidency, Democratic Senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Patrick Leahy of Vermont introduced a resolution in the Senate proclaiming that John McCain was a U.S. Citizen. The resolution was co-sponsored by Democrats Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Jim Webb and Republican Tom Coburn. The resolution was proposed only two months after the accusations about McCain became public.

While there is no less evidence that Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen, several congressional Republicans and many Republican spokespersons, including Liz Cheney aka "Little Dick," continue to challenge Obama's U.S. citizenship. One statement released by an RNC spokesperson, rather than a public statement from Chairman Steele and/or congressional Republican leaders, is not enough and has come way too late.

The RNC and elected Republicans have not come out against the accusation in support of their president for political reasons; not because they are so stupid or so uninformed that they believe the accusation. In spite of their claim to be the moral leadership of the U.S., the RNC and elected Republicans have proven again to be anything but.

If you happen to be one of the Birthers, be ashamed of your utter stupidity and should I say racial bigotry. If you are a Republican and you believe that Obama is a U.S. citizen, then I suggest that you write your party leadership and your elected Republican representatives, if you have any, and demand that they publicly oppose the Birthers and strongly proclaim that Obama is a U.S. citizen.

If you happen to be undecided about Obama's citizenship, I suggest that you wake up and start using your brain.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Arrest of Professor Gates - Update

I think Obama is technically incorrect to support Gates since Obama admits not knowing all the facts BUT we should not be surprised that a black man’s initial response to such a story would be to take the side of the black man arrested. I don’t think a typical American minority person, especially a black, should be expected to "react" differently in situations like this.

However, Obama is not a typical black man when he opens his mouth in public. As the President he should not have commented until he adequately understood what took place. He certainly has enough resources at his disposal to inform him well in a short time.

When our politicians have spoken out as white men or Christian men rather than for all Americans, the majority has rightly disagreed with their narrow-minded positions. We should not make an exception for Obama.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Arrest of Professor Gates - Who's Responsible?

I've read two accounts of the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. One account was written by a friend, Lawrence Bobo. The other account was provided by the attorney for Henry Louis Gates, Jr. They are, in my opinion, very different accounts. The attorney's account would leave one to believe that the policeman had no cause to make an arrest. But, the account by Lawrence Bobo convinced me that Gates was responsible for his own arrest even though Bobo blames the policeman for a false arrest. Gates and a second black man broke into a house that he had just rented when he found that the door was damaged and the key would not open it. This activity was reported to the local police who responded as though it was a possible burglary.

I agree that race continues to be an issue in the US. Having a black man as president gives white America a new perspective that is not wasted on many, if any, whites and it gives blacks a new perspective of themselves and hope for continued improvements in race relations. However, I think Professor Gates is responsible for his arrest. Professor Gates could and should have reacted like an “unknown person” confronted by a policeman investigating the report of a possible crime. Instead, he chose to assume that the white policeman was disrespecting him because he was black. Then again, it may have been a “class” issue: the working class cop versus the “famous and successful Harvard professor”, according to Lawrence Bobo. I can’t be sure whether either the policeman or Professor Gates turned this into a “class” issue but Lawrence Bobo’s own words suggest to me that he has a “class” attitude. I didn’t recognize the name Henry Louis “Skip” Gates in spite of the fact, according to Lawrence Bobo, that Professor Gates is “one of the most readily recognized black men in America and the most broadly influential black scholar of this generation.” I looked at a photo of Professor Gates and he was not familiar to me. That doesn’t mean that Professor Gates is not highly recognized and most broadly influential. What it means to me is that at least Lawrence Bobo, if not Professor Gates, is wrong to assume that the policeman had to have recognized Professor Gates by sight and by name and was bent on punishing him for his race and/or his status.

Let me know what you think after you have read both views.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Secret CIA Program - A Legal Not Political Matter

CIA Director Leon Panetta recently disclosed to Congress a secret CIA program authorized by Dick Cheney in 2001. By order of Dick Cheney, Congress was never briefed on the program. This act alone is a violation of federal law. If Cheney did not want Congress to know that the program existed then one can only conclude that Congress would not have approved of the program's activities because those activities also violate the federal law or international treaty.

The GOP would have us believe that an investigation of the secret program would only be motivated by politics for the purpose of damaging the GOP and members of the Bush Administration. They further claim that the investigation would embarrass the US and likely threaten US security. John McCain asked, "What's going to be the positive result from airing out and ventilating details of what we already knew took place and should never have? "And," added McCain, "we are committed to making sure it never happens again." McCain would have a stronger argument against an investigation if the guilty admitted their wrong doing and condemned their own acts. Without that the nation has not adequately admitted that wrongs were done, never should have been done and should not be done again. Without a full admission of guilt those who believe that wrongs were not done will commit, or permit others to commit, the same wrongs in the future.

I agree that a political motivation exists but politics must not also prevent the US from investigating criminal activity, especially within the government, and prosecuting those responsible for it. The US has already lost moral ground with other nations and the only way to recover it is to thoroughly investigate and prosecute these crimes. Finally, the only way to ensure that future administrations do not violate the law is to demonstrate that future violations will not go unpunished by punishing the violators within the Bush Administration.

I don't doubt that the country will be deeply split if the Department of Justice proceeds with this investigation but that is not a reason to ignore criminal acts. The country has been deeply split before and each time has risen from it a better country for fully enforcing our Constitution. The strongest example is the secession of the Southern slave states following the election of Abe Lincoln who campaigned against the expansion of slavery. The cost of doing the right thing was high but the need was greater.

Our Constitution is only as powerful as our commitment to enforce it. Enforcing the Constitution is not "politics as usual" it is a matter of Law and the survival of our Constitution.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fox & Friends Host Is An Idiot - Maybe A Racist

Watch this video of "Fox and Friends" host Brian Kilmeade proving that he is at least an idiot if not also a racist. How does this gang stay on the air? The first time I watched this show, the female host stated, while responding to an accusation that the United States would preemptively use nuclear weapons, "the United States has never used its nuclear weapons." Has she not heard of "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" that were dropped on Japan and killed more than 200,000 people? Murdock doesn't care who he hires at Fox as long as they will tell his lies. Is it possible that Murdock's lackeys are stupid enough to believe what that are saying?

Are Mexican Army Interrogators CIA-Trained?

"Mexico Accused of Torture in Drug War PUERTO LAS OLLAS, Mexico -- The Mexican army has carried out forced disappearances, acts of torture and illegal raids in pursuit of drug traffickers, according to documents and interviews with victims, their families, political leaders and human rights monitors." (By Steve Fainaru and William Booth, The Washington Post)

I bet the United States Government doesn't have the nerve to complain to Mexico that the methods they are employing against suspected drug traffickers are human rights violations. Yet, if they do I won't be surprised. After all, John McCain stated that the United States does not have to worry that other countries will also violate the Geneva Convention Treaty if the United States refuses to prosecute its own treaty violators. Why? "Because other countries know that the United States will punish them for their war crimes if they torture our military personnel," said John McCain.

Apparently the Golden Rule and international treaties apply to all nations except the United States.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Rev. Al Sharpton - Playing the Race Card over Michael Jackson

I have never been a fan of the Rev. Al Sharpton because he too often creates a race issue where one did not exist or he throws fuel on a small issue, making it worse rather than better.

Now he is using the death of Michael Jackson to accuse the news media and the entertainment industry of slighting Michael Jackson by their "inadequate" coverage of his passing and recognition of his talents. It was my opinion that the news media and the entertainment industry could not have spent more time and resources on Michael Jackson since his passing. Was there anything else on TV for days after Michael Jackson died? The news media over-reports on many events until most of us are sick of the subject and they haven't made an exception for Michael Jackson.

Sharpton called on the news media and the entertainment industry to recognize Michael Jackson on the occasion of his passing in a manner equal to that which was afforded Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. I'm very sure that Sinatra's passing did not give rise to as much positive coverage. I even doubt that Elvis Presley was lauded more than Michael Jackson although the news media could and did make more of the cause for Presley's "passing."

I don't question whether Michael Jackson was a significant talent and I don't resent the attention that he has received due to his very significant fan following. However, as a person, rather than a musician, Jackson deserves significant criticism although now is not the proper time. Matter of fact, his parents also deserve significant criticism, in my opinion, for their contribution to the making of Michael Jackson, the person.

If the impact of Al Sharpton's statements were limited to his reputation then I would not mind that he is making a fool of himself, but his conduct is a negative impact on the race issue in America. What's worse is that his impact is often negative.

More Anti-Obama Lies From Rush Limbaugh

While on a recent 1,300 mile roadtrip I happened onto Rush Limbaugh's radio talkshow. I think we should listen to both sides of all the issues which affect us or on which we want to have an opinion. So, I decided to listen to Rush.

The Obama Administration had just announced that the federal government would provide cash awards for the development of technologies that will reduce America's reliance on carbon based fuels. Rush stated that the cash incentive is sufficient evidence that nobody knows how to achieve the goals that Obama set and that these technologies are not currently cost justified. Rush also complained that the government should not spend money to develop technologies that the private sector is not willing to invest in. For example, one of the goals is to increase the automobile mileage to at least 70 mpg without significantly increasing the cost of the automobile. I agree that nobody knows how to do this or that 'somebody' would already be selling the technology like hotcakes to a hungry man. I don't agree that the United States should wait for the private sector to develop new technologies which will benefit the the country as a whole but cannot be cost justififed by the private sector. If that were the case the world would not now have the internet and Americans would not have the federal superhighway system.

Rush Limbaugh is smart enough to know that he is lying to his fans but he also knows that most of his fans aren't smart enough or informed enough to know that they are being lied to. Such is the strength of the talking heads of the far-right base of the nearly deceased and thoroughly insignificant GOP.