The Weiner Component Vol.2 #11 – Trump & the Republicans: “Repeal & Replace”

The United States is now into being well over 60 plus days of Donald Trump as

President and Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. With the exceptions of a new Justice on the Supreme Court and a military raid on a Syrian air base.  Nothing significant has happened in the nation’s capital except that most members of Congress are working a three day week and have taken a two week Easter break.  Trump’s executive orders limiting the movement of Muslims from seven and then six Middle Eastern countries have been put on what looks like a permanent hold by the Federal Courts.

 

The members of the House of Representatives are on a two week vacation or break from the hard work they’ve been doing accomplishing virtually nothing except noisy Town Hall meeting with their constituents.

 

When the Democrats had a majority in both Houses of Congress the Republicans had loudly and persistently decried that they were ruining the Country with their irresponsible legislation like Affordable Health Care or as they like to call it, “Obamacare” and by supporting such national organizations like Planned Parenthood.

 

Also it seemed as far as the Republicans were concerned that nothing worthwhile could come from a Black, Democratic President. Now there is a white Republican President and a Republican dominated House of Representatives and Senate and to date, more than two months since they assumed power, nothing worthwhile has come from them except endless squabbling.

 

Their first major piece of legislative business was to get rid of Obamacare. They have been denouncing it since it first came into existence. It was signed into law on March 23, 2010, a little over seven years ago. Since that day, to hear Republican legislators speak about it, an individual gets the impression that it is worse than leprosy.

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The problem, as far as President Donald J. Trump is concerned, which he recently discovered, is that the healthcare law is very complicated. Trump’s understanding of a law is of something that can be put on a single sheet of paper with wording that will not even cover the entire page. The Affordable Health Care Law has to be about a thousand pages long. That makes it very complicated. It will take more than the passage of one simple law to be completely done away with.

 

On Thursday, March 23, 2017, the seventh anniversary of the law, the repeal and replace bill was pulled by the Speaker of the House of Representatives because it didn’t have the votes to pass in the House. Trump, presumably in a moment of disgust, outrage, or masterful negotiation, sent some of his aids to sell the bill to the doubting members of the House. Trump wanted the bill voted up or down the next day. He wanted to know who among the Republican Party in the House were his supporters and who “supports Nancy Pelosi,” the Democratic leader. No Democrats are voting for the bill.

 

What is the problem in the House with this bill? It seemed that the members of the far-right Freedom Coalition were against the bill because it was too lenient, while more moderate Republicans were against the bill because it would remove 24 million people from health care coverage. 14 million, according to a non-partisan Congressional Office, will lose their coverage within a year and the additional 10 million will lose it over a longer period of time.

 

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s, who developed the Bill from values he has held for years,  goal was to make health care accessible to everyone while keeping the minimum wage at its present low level. The problem that emerged with this prospective bill was that most people could not afford health care under the new proposed bill.

 

Younger participants will have their premiums reduced while older people would have their premiums massively increased. The Speaker of the House has stated that he will be making Health Care available to everyone. The catch there is if they can afford to pay the premiums. The Federal Government will give tax credits to the needy. But the problem is that most if not all of the needy will not have the money to afford the premiums and may be earning so little that they pay no income taxes.  Consequently the tax credits would be worthless.

 

This is particularly true since the minimum federal wage is seven dollars and twenty-five cents an hour. This means that a fair percentage of the population, particularly in red states where people believed in and voted for Trump, are earning $290 a week before unemployment and Social Security is taken out of their earnings. A goodly number of these people, who currently have Obamacare would lose it and be forced to go to ER, emergency rooms at hospitals. Under the proposed bill they will probably die prematurely. Many will face a choice between medication, food, or rent. This apparently is Paul Ryan and Donald Trump’s solution to Universal Medical Care. It is also a way of having the government significantly reduce its spending and being able to cut taxes for the rich and the corporations.

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According to one pole 17% of the population supports the Republican Health Care Bill, which has been labeled Trumpcare or Ryan-care. 56% oppose it. Virtually every Congressional District in the United States opposes the bill. If it passes in the House it should make for interesting voting in November of 2018.

 

On Friday, March 24, 2017 Trump and Ryan’s health care bill was pulled just minutes before it was supposed to come up for a vote. The Republicans, who have a wide majority in the House of Representatives, did not have enough votes to pass it. Presumably this was done on orders from Trump. Obamacare will continue to exist. The people of the United States in mass rallies throughout the country have demanded it. The Republicans have buckled down to the will of the majority. I suspect mainly because they don’t want to lose their seats in the House of Representatives.

 

Interestingly, Benjamin Franklin wrote toward the end of his career, “In free governments the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns.” It took massive protest movements for this point to be made throughout the country.

 

After a period of silence on the subject Paul Ryan is now talking about a new and better version of the Health Care Bill. They are again talking about it and will continue to work on developing it after their two week break.

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Listening to the President one got the impression that Trump never really examined the Affordable Health Care Law. It seems that he doesn’t like to read; that he gets most of his information from watching television. Trump promised to expand the plan and lower the cost when he was a candidate without really being aware of what he was talking about. I would suppose he is a 70 year old attention deficit adult. I would guess he knows things by instinct rather than by investigation.

 

Many of the House Republican legislators were announcing on the floor of the House on Friday how many of their constituents would lose health coverage if the bill were passed. The numbers were staggering. One could see what would probably happen in votes for the Democrats in the Midterm Election of 2018.

 

Ryan’s plan, had it passed would have decimated the current system. Again Trump probably had not bothered to examine the bill. It would have cut out the lowest rungs of society, all 14 million of them. This bill was rushed through the House without hearings or anything. It was supposed to be the fulfillment of the Republican dream of getting rid of Obamacare, after seven years of its existence and the Republican dominated House of Representative passing over 60 bills over the last seven years repealing Obamacare. None of these bills ever reached the Senate.

 

Ryan’s bill would have transferred much of the payment for medical treatment from the Federal Government back to the recipients of that medical treatment. Somehow the reduction in Federal costs would generally match Trump’s tax cuts, a little over 8 billion dollars.

 

This would have been very helpful to the Republicans in getting their tax cuts through Congress. It would be the reverse of Robin Hood’s behavior which was taking from the rich to help the poor. Instead Ryan-care was to take from the poor in order to help the rich.

 

Trump then spoke of moving on to his next legislative project, what he calls tax reform. This is mainly tax relief for both the top two percent of the population and for lowering the cooperate taxes. It would seem that they can’t afford to cut taxes without lowering medical costs

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The ultimate irony here is that Affordable Health Care was a Republican generated plan which, if I remember correctly, was generated for Mitt Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts by Citizens United, a far-right Think Tank.

 

The plan worked well in that state and Romney got and took the credit for it.  In 2012, when Romney ran against Barack Obama as the Republican candidate for the presidency he denounced the plan for which he had been responsible.

 

The plan utilizes private enterprise to develop a Universal Health Care System. It follows Republican principles about private ownership. President Obama and the Democrats used it because they thought it would get Republican support in Congress. Not one Republican Party member voted for the bill.

 

It would have been far more practical and much cheaper for the Federal Government to become the insurer and set up a single payer plan throughout the United States. Virtually every single government that has universal health coverage for its people has done this and their overall costs are half or less than the U.S. pays for both medical care and pharmaceuticals. The Republican problem in “repealing and replacing” Obamacare is that they’re trying to improve upon their own plan and it’s not going to happen.

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The commitment to Socialized Medicine for the entire population requires much more than the Federal Government has been able or willing to do so far. What we have seen is a semi-voluntary Republican plan that includes the private sector. What we need is a plan that also supplies doctors and cuts out the profits of the middle men.

 

Becoming a medical person is a long and expensive process. There are many individuals who would go into this but cannot afford the time without earning anything or the expense of the process. What is needed first is a single provider who operates on a non-profit basis, and that would be the Federal Government. The Government Agency that would handle this then needs to be able to deal directly with the medical and pharmaceutical facilities that provide both the doctors and the medicines for the public. This could be done by having the Federal Government set up medical learning facilities or contract to pay the costs of becoming a doctor at the existing medical universities or both. The Government also has to control the costs of the medicines.

 

This requires a major monetary investment over a goodly period of time. The Federal Government would also have to set up a scholarship system where worthy candidates would have their tuition and possibly their living costs paid

 

Also right now the pharmaceutical companies are free to charge what they will. This is currently true because they are protected by Congress. Today the major contributor to the Republican Party are the Pharmaceutical Companies. The cost of medical treatment in other industrial countries is less than half of that in the United States. Also medicines cost a fraction of what they do in the U.S. Medical Care should be a right that everyone has. The cost of it could be easily added to the income tax with everyone paying their fair share.

English: Nations with Universal health care sy...

English: Nations with Universal health care systems. Nations with some type of universal health care system. Nations attempting to obtain universal health care. Health care coverage provided by the United States war funding. Nations with no universal health care. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Weiner Component #108 – What Do the Republicans Stand For?

Breakdown of political party representation in...

Breakdown of political party representation in the United States Senate during the 112th Congress. Blue: Democrat Red: Republican Light Blue: Independent (caucused with Democrats) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 2014 Midterm Election there was a 37% turnout of voters, the smallest since 1942. People made a statement by not voting. It seems that the statement made was a negative one. The majority of voters were very unhappy with both major political parties. The Republicans denounced virtually everything and the Democrats gutlessly distanced themselves from the President and everything he’s done. The 113th Congress for the 2012 to 2014 period had accomplished less than any other Congress in the entire history of the United States. The people were disgusted with their government.

Even though the election was a denunciation of the current political system in Washington and many of the state governments, the election, with the low vote, favored the Republicans. They achieved a majority in both Houses of Congress. Many of their leaders announced mistakenly or stupidly that this election was a referendum on their policies.

If in their minds they acted as though the election were a referendum on their positions, then what do they stand for?

Numerous members of the Tea Party have been elected since 2010. These people constitute a fair percentage but not the majority of the Republicans in Congress. Their goals seem to be the smaller the government the better. Their basic attitude seems to be anti-scientific; they do not believe in science, at least not in the fact that carbon emissions can effect climate conditions, that people by their poor uses of resources are changing weather conditions.

They also, with the evangelicals, are against abortion. Many of them oppose it in all cases, including rape and incest; some of them even oppose contraception use as a form of abortion. They are ready to force women to have unwanted children but do not see any point in helping raise these unwanted youngsters with financial or any other type of help.

They want to get rid of Obamacare (Affordable Health Care). If they were capable of doing this it would bring immediate hardship to millions of Americans who have benefited significantly from this law. Ironically this law was first designed by a far right think tank, Citizens United and applied by former Republican governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. It uses private enterprise as the base in establishing universal health care for the people of the state. The Democrats chose it to satisfy the Republicans. Obviously it did not.

The majority of advantages from this law apply mostly but not completely to those who didn’t have any health care. The Act was designed to reduce overall health care costs by making services available to those 32 million who did not have any medical coverage. Preventive services are included which lowers health care costs by treating diseases before they become serious. The government pays for people who can’t afford health insurance. Insurance companies that now get a lot more business cannot deny children or adults coverage for pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies can no longer drop anyone from coverage once they get sick. Parents can put their children up to age 28 on their health policies. The Act lowers the budget deficit by 143 billion over the next decade. Because of this plan the increase in medical costs are about 4% for the 2014-2015 year rather than the usual 10 or 11% yearly.

If the Republicans were to be successful in canceling Obamacare there would be a lot of people in the country who would suddenly lose their family health care for themselves and their adult children who generally would be in college. This would not help those who would find their policies changed because of a family member with a prior condition. They would be extremely upset if they had to pay more for less coverage. There’s no question but this would seriously affect their votes in the next major election in 2016.

The Republicans are very good at being against things, but very poor at being for anything. What would they offer the people in place of Obamacare? They have mentioned nothing positive. The few things that they tend to be for are lowering the tax rate for the upper 10 or 15% of the population. These people currently pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than the rest of the public. They are also for the Keystone XL Pipeline and protecting our southern border. There is no problem with protecting our northern border.

Their overall desire seems to be to go back historically to France before the Revolution when the rich and nobility paid no taxes; all taxes were paid by the poor. After all John Boehner has numerous times called the rich the “job creators.” Congress, according to the Republicans, doesn’t want to tax the “job creators.” Of course the question could be raised: “Where are the jobs these people are creating?” Boehner likes to make meaningless comments.

The question on immigration is an interesting one. The system is essentially broken in the United States. Families are constantly being broken, parents are deported but their children are citizens because they were born here. Young men and women going to college are not citizens because they were brought here as small children. The entire system is not functioning in a sane manner. Approximately a year and a half ago, five hundred and some days earlier the Senate, working with both Democrats and Republicans, painfully developed an immigration bill and passed it. Even though it had enough support from both Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, refused to bring it up before the House. It seems that a minority of the Republicans, the far right opposed the bill. It appears that Boehner felt that he would lose the Speakership if he brought up the bill. Because of John Boehner’s ego needs the immigration bill did not become law and President Obama has taken executive action which the Republicans loudly denounced before going home for Thanksgiving. They have threatened a law suit, shutting down the government by not funding it, and impeachment. In the end they just left Washington, D.C. quickly for the holiday.

It should also be noted that immigration reform is popular with the general public. In essence here the will of the people is being thwarted by a reactionary minority and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

They also go ballistic over protecting our borders, particularly our southern border with Mexico and South America. This, I understand, is included in the immigration bill that the Republicans have refused to take up in the House of Representatives. The immigration policy will not go as far as electrifying the fences, which, I understand, some Republicans would like to do.

Historically the Republicans freed the slaves with the Civil War and have always favored business growth. They still favor business growth by wanting to reduce the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and lowering taxes for corporations.

Also they traditionally want to increase the military and lower all entitlement programs. In essence they support the rich at the expense of the rest of the society. Their attitude does go back to France as it was organized before the late 19th Century Revolu

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

tion.

Can we trust this political party with all their negative imagery to run the United States? If you weren’t among the top 10 or 15% what would you expect to gain from them. Their anti-abortion and contraceptive programs could well rapidly increase the population; but their decrease in entitlements and anti-Obamacare possible legislation could cause a lot of these youngsters to die prematurely.

The Weiner Component #56 – Obama Care, The Affordable Health Care Law

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Venomously and mischievously the Republican Party has opposed the Affordable Health Care Law whose basic aim is to insure all Americans against any kind of medical catastrophe.  Sara Palin, among others, has gushered forth against it and its “so-called” evils like a broken toilet spewing forth its sewerage.

The Republican Party is seemingly against it to the last man; generally denouncing Obama Care as the worst catastrophe ever promulgated against the American People.  Rick Santorum seems to count it as equal to the worst punishment Satan could command against any sinning soul.  The Koch brothers have put out rather disgusting commercials telling young adults to opt out of the law, refuse to join and don’t get medical insurance.  They would rather have them be dependent upon the government and the taxpayers if a critical medical emergency were to occur.

What’s wrong with this law?  What great evil will it bring about?  How will it damn the American People?

There is one interesting note of irony here.  The Affordable Health Care Law (Obama Care) was originally a Republican proposal or plan, particularly as it was carried out in Massachusetts during Mitt Romney’s governorship.  It allows everyone to take full responsibility for their own and their family’s health care.  It also allows for an expansion of private business based upon the principles of the free market by having the system run by private enterprise.

The Democratic idea was to set up a system based upon a single payer, the government.  They would run the system as they do Social Security and Medicare.   If the Democrats had pushed this idea through then most of the problems that existed with the present system would not have occurred.  The system would have been government sponsored and government controlled.  It would have included all people in the United States.  Instead the Democrats tried to glean Republican support for the program.  In passing the bill the Democrats did not receive one Republican vote in either House of Congress.

Why then have the Republicans come down so heavily upon a plan which is mostly their own, and which espouses all their principles?  The Republicans are a political party run mostly by mature white males.  They have two major factors against Barak Obama: one is that he is a Democrat and two, that he is black.  This is not necessarily the order of importance of those two factors.

The Washington Republicans in both Houses of Congress agreed in caucus shortly after Obama was elected President in 2008 that they would make him a One-Term President by not supporting anything that he wanted to bring about, that he would be the least successful of all elected presidents.  They publically announced this.

Unfortunately for them the Democrats controlled Congress for the first two years of his first term and they passed, among other reforms, the Affordable Health Care Bill, trying to get Republican support by espousing their basic principles.  The Bill received no Republican support of votes.  In fact it was adamantly opposed by the Republican Party.  When Obama was reelected to a second term the Republicans were stuck with their initial position and they all had to follow the party line and oppose the measure.

This is true even though they probably would have strongly supported the bill under a Republican President.  To me, this is the ultimate irony, having to dramatically oppose what you initially promulgated.

Is this behavior rational?  Does it serve the American people, many of whom are still facing the 2008 Real Estate Crisis, which was brought about by the major banks in the United States, with the support of a former Republican dominated Congress.

The situation is ludicrous.  All the legislators take an oath to follow the Constitution and serve the American people.  Instead the Republicans are ignoring their oath and serving the Party.  Their goal, at any price, is to return ruling power to themselves.  To date they have exacerbated negative economic conditions with the sequester, refused to supply an operating budget to the  United States, and closed the Federal Government for a period of time, costing the economy billions of dollars and, during a time of high unemployment brought about the loss of additional hundreds of thousands of jobs.

If anything, instead of gaining support, by their legislative actions, both on state and Federal levels, the Republican Party has adroitly alienated all sorts of groups of people/voters.  On a Federal level the House of Representatives has refused to pass immigration legislation, arbitrarily continuing the separation of members of families and keeping young people who were brought to the United States as babies or young children from becoming citizens. There was a case of an Arizona police officer discovering that at the age of 42 that she was actually born in Mexico and had to resign from her job.   One of the reasons given for this is that immigrant Latinos tend to vote for Democrats.

The Republicans have alienated a large percentage of the female population, presumably over the issue of birth control, taking Constitutional rights away from women and depriving those that are poor of medical aid by closing their free clinics.  The argument is that this is to stop abortions from being performed.  Somehow or other they have also alienated Asians.  In addition to all of the above the Republicans have attempted to limit the votes of minorities and the aged on the state level where they can, because these people also vote for Democratic candidates.

At the rate they’re going the Republicans may end up with almost no supporters at some point in the near future.  Then, I suppose, they will complain that they are being unfairly picked on.

I suppose if the Republicans can restrict the vote to just evangelicals and the members of the far right they can regain political power for a long period of time.  They may even be able to follow the precepts of someone like Rick Santorum who seemed to want to set up a modern day theocracy where a relatively small group of elderly white men would decide what is morally, ethnically, and legally right for everyone in the nation.

 

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The Weiner Component #45 – The Tea Party

The Tea Party pretends to be a populist party ...

The Tea Party pretends to be a populist party but that is misleading, for it was created with a few thousand “true believers” financed by the rich and powerful within the Republican party, This is exactly what happened in Germany in the 30s; Fascism. (Photo credit: Wonderlane)

   

The Tea Party Element of the Republican Party in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, October 1, 2012, was able to shut down parts of the United States Government by refusing to pass a bill to continue funding the government.  They would only pass the bill, which they received from the Senate, if Affordable Health Care (Obama Care) were de-funded.   Neither the Senate nor the President would go along with this, calling it a form of blackmail.  The Affordable Health Care law was due to go into large-scale operation on the next day.  The bill had passed both houses in Congress and been signed by the President in 2010.  The law, on October 2, 2013 received an enormous response from people in the country who had not been able to afford medical insurance prior to that time. 

We should note that no bill had been passed funding the government for the fiscal year of 2014.  Many months’ earlier two different bills had been passed in both the House and Senate.  These two bills were different and had to be reconciled into one bill and then again passed by both Houses.  There had been eighteen requests from the Senate to meet in Conference Committee for this purpose.  Speaker Boehner had ignored all of these requests.  Consequently there was no new budget to fund the government after September 30th.  Was this a plan by the House of Representative Republicans to bring about a crisis so they could certainly kill legislation they did not like through the use of blackmail?

It seemed that the Tea Party Group would have its way or it would shut down the government, which it did.  This group, when they left the House shortly after midnight on October 2, seemed to be in a state of ecstasy, with extremely wide grins and happy body language.  Michele Bachmann looked like a young bride the morning after the first night with her husband.  I understand a number of them also reeked of alcohol.  Many of the Tea Party members had boasted for as long as six months prior to being elected that they would shut the government down.  And they now had accomplished their purpose.  Somehow I get the impression that the Tea Party’s main objective was not to do away with Affordable Health Care but to punish the government and indirectly a large percentage of the American Public.  It seems that they see the government as the enemy and want to somehow defeat it. 

One of the more dramatic effects of this government shut down was to freeze payments to wives and parents whose husbands or children were killed fighting in Afghanistan.  We are currently at war.  These people, and there are well over a dozen of them, are supposed to receive large cash payments for travel and funerals for their loved ones.  No payments have been made to any of them since the government shut down.

Interestingly, while all this was happening I remembered the original late Eighteen Century Boston Tea Party, which is usually studied in Elementary School.  The version in the youngster’s textbooks is not exactly accurate.  It’s presented as a great patriotic act, which it was not.

The British East India Company, which was owned in part by many members of the British Government, was in dire financial trouble.  Britain passed a law that would allow them to sell their tea in the American Colonies, even with taxes charged, at a deep discount. 

The American Colonists earlier had avoided paying any taxes on imports by smuggling tea and numerous other products into the colonies.  In fact smuggling was a way of life in the American Colonies.  But with the deep discount the British tea, even with a tax, would be far less expensive than the smuggled tea.  As far as the British were concerned they were getting the British East India Company out of financial difficulties and doing the colonies a favor, charging much less for tea there than in Great Britain.

Before the tea could be landed from the three ships that brought it to the colonies a group of men who coated their skin with red ocher to make them look like Indians attacked the three ships and dumped the cargos of tea into Boston harbor.  These men, it turned out, were the merchants who sold the smuggled tea in the colony.  They were mainly protecting their own financial interests.

The British were flabbergasted; they closed down the harbor of Boston, and insisted that the people of the city pay for the tea, $25,000.  The harbor would remain closed to all shipping until the tea was paid for.  At this point it became a patriotic issue not to pay for the tea, which a number of merchants were willing but afraid to do for fear that they might be attacked by the Sons of Liberty.

These were the great patriots that the modern day Tea Party has modeled itself after.  And interestingly have created a similar stalemate in the United States; this time largely closing down the government and furloughing hundreds of thousands of government employees with no salaries, plus stopping numerous necessary programs for the poor, aged, children and military personnel.  In essence almost all of the government agencies are functioning with skeleton crews.  This seems to be the great achievement of the modern day Tea Party.

By looking at their actions one get the impression that to them the Federal Government is the villain and they want to weaken it, to beat it up.  Unfortunately we are stuck with this situation until the next midterm election that will not come until November of 2014.  The House of Representatives has done nothing for the last two plus years except to exacerbate the 2008 Recession.  Luckily the Federal Reserve has been very innovative and creative in applying Monetary Policy and has slowly been able to move the country in the direction of recovery.  The current situation, if it lasts, could push us back into recession or worse.  The Tea Party, which has seemingly taken over the Republican Party, is doing a good job of beating up the United States.

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The issue becomes more devastating when one considers that the Tea Party members of the House of Representatives form about 20 to 25 percent of the Republicans there.  They have seized control of the party and rule it firmly.  The Speaker of the House, John Boehner, was reelected as Speaker in 2012 by a Republican majority of three votes.  If two Republicans in the House were to change their votes he could be dropped like a hot potato from his position.  Boehner, it seems, has become a mindless extension of the Tea Party.

The irony of the situation is what’s really needed is a budget for the fiscal year of 2014.  A bill to this effect that should have been passed months earlier in both Houses of Congress and signed by the President and would have solved the problem without any crises; but the House of Representatives refused to participate in the process.  Thus it has brought about a National crisis.  The irony of this situation is that if a bill were to be passed ending this issue it would only affect the country until the end of December when there would be a new budget crisis over funding the government for the new year.  Another crisis!  Another opportunity for blackmail!

In addition to this it is estimated that on October 16th the Debt Ceiling will be reached and Congress will have to raise it or default on its debts.  This action will not only affect the credit of the United States it could bring about a deep recession or depression, far deeper than that of 1929, and also affect other nations pushing them into recession.   All of this being brought about by a minority of Tea Party Republicans among the Republicans in the House of Representatives!  We are in a strange state of being!

Someone on TV has stated that the Republicans in the House of Representatives are no longer chosen by the people.  Instead they choose their constituents who, in turn, elect them.  The midterm Election of 2010, when the Republicans won a majority in the House and in a number of state legislatures and governorships, was a census year in which the states set new boundaries for the election of members of the House, depending upon the census count.  By fancy gerrymandering the Republicans reset the election boundaries to give themselves the greatest advantage in any election.  They maintained the majority of representatives in the House even though the House Democrats received 1.4 million more votes than the Republicans in the 2012 Election.  The number of people in each of the Districts varied tremendously.  Some votes count more than others.  Presumably this guarantees that the Republicans will maintain control of the House of Representatives.  And also this makes the primary elections in these districts more important than the actual elections.  The more liberal elements among the Republicans in the House are constantly threatened that if they do not hue to the party line, vote the way the Tea Party wants, they will have more conservative Republicans run against them in the primaries for their next election. 

In addition the ultimate irony of all of this is that there is nothing behind the U.S. dollar but the word of the government.  In fact this is true of all currencies now.  American money is valued and accepted throughout this planet.  All the government has to do is issue more currency to quickly solve this problem.  But the Tea Party, whose minds are still in the 18th Century, is in a position to not let this happen.  In their ignorance or spite they could bring about a world depression!  They have the power but not the intelligence to run the government.

In the 2012 Election, despite their gerrymandering, some Republicans lost their seats in the House to Democrats.  If this happens again the Democrats could regain control of the House of Representatives.  Obviously it would take more than a 1.4 million majority voting for members of the House.

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The Weiner Component #43-The Republican Party & the American People

Traditionally, with only two major political parties in the Unit

Republicans

Republicans (Photo credit: Jed Sheehan)

ed States, each has served as a check upon the other.  Over a good part of its history this country has had two major functioning political parties that have had slightly different emphasis.  Each has kept the other honest.  Unfortunately that situation no longer exists. 

If one draws a horizontal line across this page and puts a mark in the center, everything to the right of that mark can be called conservative and everything to the left of the mark could be called liberal.  The farther one goes away from center the more liberal or conservative he/she becomes.  At some distant point far from center the extreme right becomes reactionary and the extreme left becomes radical.  In point of fact in the center of the line there have been conservatives who have crossed over to the left side of the mark like Nelson Rockefeller and liberals like Jimmy Carter who were to the right of the mark.

What has happened since the 2008 Election is that the Tea-Party group and the extreme evangelicals have been able to take over the leadership of the Republican Party and moved it to the far right, to the reactionary position.  This has, in turn, forced all Democrats to move slightly to the left of their former positions.  The result has been to polarize the positions of both parties, with the Republicans being too far to the right to even consider a compromise with the Democrats.  In fact it’s as though the two groups speak radically different languages and cannot even begin to comprehend the other.

Still one would think that the results of the Election of 2012 would be a wake-up call for the Republican Party.  They lost the Presidential Election by about five million votes and also lost seats in both the House and Senate.  They did fairly well in the “red” states and retained the majority in the House of Representatives even though a million more votes were cast for Democrats nationally.  They were able to maintain those district and state majorities by gerrymandering state election districts.

The Republican success in the Election of 2010, which was a census year requiring rebalancing the numbers of candidates, gave them the authority to gerrymander the state election districts heavily in their favor.  This they did and have been able to maintain control in the House even though more people voted for Democrats.  What has happened to the concept of each vote being equal?

The major Republican goal up until the Election of 2012 was to make Obama a one-term president.  Among others the Republican minority leader in the Senate publically announced this numerous times.  During the 2008 to 2012 term the Republicans supported nothing that the President favored, even if it initially had been their idea.  Not one economic jobs bill whose success might allow the President to look good, was passed and, in many cases, not even brought to the floor of the House or Senate to be voted upon.  In fact the Republicans in the Federal Government and in the states concentrated upon medical and social legislation, attempting to destroy the Affordable Health Care Bill (Obama Care).  The House has now passed forty-one separate bills doing away with this law.  None of these repetitive bills were ever taken up by the Senate and if they had been the President would have vetoed them.  The effect of these bills has been to encourage many of their reactionary constituents.  They have also wasted a lot of legislative time.  They only met in the House of Representatives 120 days in 2012 and will meet 125 times by the end of 2013.

Much of the state legislation (and this was also taken up and passed in the House of Representatives) where the Republicans controlled both the governorship and the legislature had to do with limiting abortion, women’s contraceptive and health rights, emotional issues.  These bills have gotten more and more reactionary attempting to, and in many cases being successful in closing state woman’s care centers that also performed abortions.  Many Republicans want all pregnancies carried to term, ever in cases of incest or rape, even in case where the woman’s life may be endangered by the pregnancy.  Seemingly in rape it becomes the woman or child’s, where a minor is involved, fault for being present when the perpetrator committed the act and subsequently it is their financial and moral responsibility to raise the child even against their will.

In 1964, when Lyndon Baines Johnson first ran for the presidency as the Democratic candidate, his Republican opponent was Barry Goldwater.  Goldwater was the candidate of the far right, the reactionary and evangelical Republicans.  His slogan during the campaign was: “In your heart you know he’s right.”  The inference of this statement being that logic and factional information had nothing to do with the election.  It was what you felt that counted.  He received 22% of the vote, which represented the population of the far right.  Forty-two years later, in the mid-term election of 2010 the far right attained a majority in the House of Representatives and in a number of state elections.  Through the patient use of money and propaganda they had largely achieved their goal of taking over the control of the Republican Party.  The country had not necessarily changed that much in its basic attitudes but the Far Right has successfully seized control of some of the engines of government.  One factor that seemed to help was that the President of the United States was now a black man.  After the Presidential Election of 2012 the Republicans continued to act as if the election had not taken place.

Two functioning political parties in the United States that essentially speak the same language would help the political situation and be easily able to solve most economic problems facing the country.  They could also serve as a check on each other.  We do not currently have that.  Will we ever reach that point again?  That’s an interesting question.

We will be facing another midterm election in 2014.  Currently the Republicans are, on a state level where they have control of both the legislature and the governorship, pushing forward their anti-woman, limiting female health by shutting down those facilities and essentially closing down all abortion facilities in those states, and their anti-middle class agenda, no job creation or needed infrastructure improvement.  On the Federal level, while the Republicans cannot pass any of their heinous legislation, they can stop any positive legislation by filibustering in the Senate or refusing to even vote on any of these bills in the House where they have the majority.  Currently they are opposing a realistic immigration policy because they feel these people will vote Democratic when they become citizens.  In essence the Republicans seem to be supporting a white, male government of the rich, financed by the rich, and for the rich.

It has even reached a state where many Republicans in the states where they have legislative control are opposing some of the positions held by their own party in Washington, D.C.  What will happen in the midterm election of 2014 will determine the immediate future of this country.  Will the majority of the people vote these people out of office or will they stay at home, not vote, and allow the Republican leaders to plow ahead?  It becomes an interesting question whether the people will vote in their own interests or against them.  We have approximately a little over a year to find out.  Unfortunately, outside of state protesting, until that time, the Republicans will be successfully pushing their agendas.

A graph labeled "Figure 109," and fo...

A graph labeled “Figure 109,” and found on page 126. It shows the percentage of Democrats and Republicans who belong to labor unions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Weiner Component #41 – Obama Care, Socialism, & the Free Market

English: President Barack Obama speaks to a jo...

English: President Barack Obama speaks to a joint session of Congress regarding health care reform (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was an article recently in the Wall Street Journal, which stated that a larger and larger percentage of the National Income is going to the top one percent of the population.  Consequently there is less and less available yearly for anyone else and standards of living keep going further and further downhill.  This is the Free Market in action, giving more and more to the top and less and less to everyone else.

Meanwhile the Republicans in Congress are keeping taxes relatively low for the top percentile and vigorously denouncing Obama Care, the Affordable Health Care Bill that largely comes into being in October of 2013.  They are, among other things, threatening to shut down the Federal Government by stopping all spending, rather than let Obama Care come into being.  There have been about forty separate votes over two different sessions of the House of Representatives defeating this law.  The Senate, which has a Democratic majority, will not even bring this bill up for a vote and the President, if it were to come before him for his signature, would veto it.

Looking over statements by prominent Republicans and others I find that there are only two reasons for discarding this law.  The first, which seems minor, is that it will bankrupt the government.  That is nonsense; the law, in the long run, will actually lower medical costs for everyone.

The second reason, which seems to be major, is that it is socialistic.  They are offering no alternatives for the millions who have no medical care; they just want to do away with the law, presumably because it is evil in their estimations.  Why is it evil?  It is so because it takes choice away from individuals by giving them medical insurance, something every member of Congress has. The Republicans are afraid that people will lose their self-reliance.

Actually, to paraphrase one of their more verbal proponents, Ted Nugent, it takes free choice away from many Americans by requiring them to have medical coverage.  It is therefore rampant socialism, which everyone knows is a bad thing because it makes him or her dependent upon the Federal Government.  Therefore it is bad.  While the Republicans in Congress do not tend to be as dramatic or as loud this is still their basic attitude.

My problem with all this postulating is that it overlooks the fact that socialistic practices already exist in our society.  For example there are Social Security and Medicare.  Shouldn’t these programs also be done away with to make people less dependent upon the Federal Government?  In addition aren’t subsidies and tax-breaks for wealthy individuals and some major corporations like oil another form of socialism since the government allows these industries to pay less or no income taxes and in some cases gives them subsidies for running their highly profitable businesses.

Aren’t people like Michelle Bachmann, whose families have received subsidies from the government for their farms and business, also accepting socialistic practices that, in turn, limit their competitive free choice and make them dependent up the government? 

It’s an interesting conundrum.  Basically if one looks at government activity across this nation, that activity is rife with socialistic practices, both on state and Federal levels.  If a state offers a particular corporation tax benefits to locate in their area, isn’t that a form of socialism?  That would make Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, guilty of spreading this ism.

Of course, if we look at the assorted Republican statements we find that one can draw a line across what they consider socialism and what it is all right to do.  When it comes to individuals, the working class, then that is socialism and those programs should be cut or done away with; but when it comes to the earning classes, the businesses, corporations, and high earning people, the activity is perfectly okay.  It is a view that could best be defined as “Government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.”

I could respect the Republicans in Congress if they were at least consistent and actually stood for their principles but they are essentially hypocrites.  If they want to do away with the Affordable Health Care Law then they should also propose to do away with their own health care coverage and, for that matter, also everyone else’s.  That would significantly lower the price of most employment in the United States and make all those workers competitive with those in other countries.  Of course it would also sustancially lower standards of living.  If they did away with all tax breaks and bonuses that would significantly increase the amount collected in taxes.  It might even make the free market honest! 

But they do none of this.  The Republicans in Congress are largely dependent upon the large corporations and wealthy individuals for the contributions they need to run their political campaigns.  In a manner of speaking they have sold their principles, if they have any, for the financing needed to remain in office.

What is being asked of the people who support them, particularly those individuals who have no medical insurance, is to object to a law that will protect them by giving them medical coverage that they do not have.  They want to give the poor the right to die sooner than they might with Oboma Care.

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