Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This Blindness Can Be Cured

(originally published by OpEdNews)


So, now who are you going to vote for in 2012?

I’m going to inform you, yet, again, of who you can and cannot vote for in 2012 and what the differences will be.

You can vote for Sarah Palin. You can vote for Barack Obama, if he’s nominated. You can vote for Joe the freakin’ plumber. You will receive the same results.

Oh, no, you say? There’s this great big difference between Democrats and Republicans?

If you believe that, you are a lost cause. No matter who gets the most stupid electoral votes or who gets the most popular votes, the nation will progress in exactly the same way.

Maybe some left wing radio head will say, “Don’t vote for the third party candidate. If you do, then the Republicans will win.”

And what will happen if the Republicans win?

We won’t get a universal health care plan that takes care of us like those of other industrialized countries?

We’ll start another foolish war?

Get my drift or would you still rather continue to play baby games?

There is no government of The United States of America. There are no three branches of government keeping one another in line. We lost our government a long, long time ago.

Dennis Kucinich supported John Kerry in 2004. One of the first things that Kerry said he’d do is to increase the troop strength in Iraq, where we shouldn’t have been in the first place. Kerry talked about the surge before Bush did. And Kucinich, who had the gall to read articles of impeachment against Bush, supported the surge. He supported Kerry.

I don’t hear anyone reading articles of impeachment against Barack Obama. He’s sending troops to Afghanistan. He’ll send them there whether or not Congress gives him the OK and/or the money to do so. That is against the law. He has no power to send troops into battle. Only Congress can declare war. He’s as much committing an impeachable crime as did Bush’s Regime.

Back to Kucinich. How can a person who consistently said we should never have gone to war in Iraq support a candidate who promised to increase those forces.

I wish Kucinich could really be elected president. Maybe then you will see that the president, the Congress and the Supreme Court are getting paid for doing what they’re told. Kucinich wouldn’t get his department of peace but he’d end up sending troops somewhere or he’d be assassinated.

Ron Paul. Oh, yeah, Ron Paul’s a regular peacenik. I wonder how the view is from the cheap seats. Oh, no, Ron Paul wouldn’t go to war. He’s a good boy.

“I’ll never be elected”, say Paul and Kucinich, “so I can say stuff that’ll make people like me and I can criticize Bush and Clinton and Obama. People will say I’m brave to stand up to my own party.”

Stop it, people! Please, please stop your madness. Stop! Stop arguing over Democrats and Republicans. Please stop saying stuff like, “At least Bush did this” or “At least Obama isn’t doing that.” You see the words? The words I’m talking about are “at least”. That’s the only thing anyone who gets enough of whatever kind of magic vote it takes to be president can do – the least.

We are fully and without compromise under the control of the global corporation. It’s been called a Corporatocracy. I’ve called it a Corporacracy. It really doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s in total control.

It’s not the government of The United States we have to overthrow, if, by government, we mean an executive branch, a legislative branch and a judicial branch.

But, people, we have to overthrow the government of The United States, The Corporacracy!

We are under the control of an entity which itself cannot be controlled. It can move anywhere in the world it wants to move. It can make people ill and stop people from getting better. And there is no so called legitimate government in the world that can or even wants to do anything about it. People who feign public service are paid handsomely by The Ruler.


As early as 1976, Paddy Chayefsky, through the character played by Ned Beatty in the film Network, had already figured it out.

It took Obama $700 million to become president. All of you disappointed “Progressives”, are you that naïve? Oh, sure, Barack raised that money through nickel and dime donations over the internet. Have our brains been that dissolved that we can’t see, won’t see, don’t want to see?

“I want my country back,” whines the left while Bush is president.

“I want my country back,” whines the right while Obama is president.

When do we start with the real, legitimate taking back of our country?

First, if anyone raises more than $10,000 for any campaign from dog catcher to president, he or she shouldn’t get your vote.

Second, if anyone approves of a campaign ad, in print, on radio, on TV or on the net which says one word more than, “Vote more me”, he or she shouldn’t get your vote.

Please, people, this is no conspiracy theory. This isn’t 9/11 truthers or birthers or Kennedy assassination investigators or alien invasion followers. I’m not judging those. Those may or may not be real.

What is real, people, what is undeniable to anyone who has one eye half open is that The United States of America does – not – have – a - government, nor has it had one for a very long time.

We tell corporations if they can or cannot exist. We tell corporations to clean up after themselves. We tell corporations to keep their freakin’ money out of our government and our politics. We still have that power. Let’s start using it!

Corporations exist to serve us, not the other way around. There are more of us than there are of them, especially if the measurement is who benefits from their unethical dominion.

Stop it! Just stop it! Please, just stop playing these games!

To friendship,
Michael

“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt


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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

“Patriots” in the Health Care Debate

(originally published at OpEdNews)


There have been a great many reasons given for steering clear of government run health care.

At the bottom of it all is an 1886 Supreme Court decision which did not give the status of natural personhood to corporations but which subsequent Supreme Court cases have cited as if it did give that status to corporations. The case of Santa Clara County v. The Southern Pacific Railroad was as flawed a Supreme Court Decision as any Supreme Court decision and more than most. It should and, hopefully, will be the subject of future articles.

This article, however, must unfortunately be written accepting the premise that even those in the highest levels of our country’s judiciary are still under the false impression that corporations are natural persons and should be treated as such. Under the guise of using their First Amendment right of free speech, health insurance corporations have been able to round up “grassroots” supporters from a small, noisy pool of uninformed “patriots” and neatly place these supporters inside town hall meetings facilitated by members of Congress. These people are anything but neat once the meeting begins. They not only shout down the members of Congress if those members of Congress support health care reform, but have been known to shout down people who are ill or otherwise down and out because of the thieves and the boards of directors who run the health care insurance business.

What are some of the things these “patriots” complain about in opposing health care reform?

First, we have to talk about Socialism. To the uninformed, Socialism is a tyrannical form of governance in which the federal government owns everyone’s lives. Socialism is a form of government which reviews high stepping paraders on the first day of every May. Under Socialism, the government taps the phones of all citizens and intercepts all communications. It reads everyone’s emails and secretly opens everyone’s snail mail before it’s delivered to the intended recipient. To learn the details of how this kind of government operates, read DAYBREAK; UNDOING THE IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY AND FORMING A MORE PERFECT UNION by David Swanson, co-founder of the After Downing Street Coalition. This wonderfully revealing book talks about the so called George W. Bush administration or, more appropriately named, The Regime.

Socialist governments tie the hands of commerce for the good of the state. Under Socialism, only a privileged few can even get into a position of national governance. In the inspiring rags to riches capitalist democratic republic of The United States of America, it’s heartening to know that one can become president by raising and spending a modest $750 million, as did Barack Obama in 2008.

People are thrown in prison because they disagree with the state. Thus, it’s only natural that under a Socialist government, a nation would have more people imprisoned than a nation which is not a Socialist nation.

The fact that the US, home of possibly more Socialist fearing people than any nation in the world, has the highest incarceration rate in the world, giving it the highest documented prison population in the world, is merely a product of the manifest destiny which ultimately became American exceptionalism.

Responses to the fear of domestic spying and open elections have been offered over and over again and most who are reading this article don’t need to be reminded of the irrationality of the comparisons between the anti Socialist US and the rest of the world. They neither have to be repeated nor reproved here.

However, those “natural” people who seem to have more power per person than other “natural” people are able to say of Socialism, “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” And those smaller people who don’t seem to feel the need to be self informed, are, indeed, very afraid of Socialism.

Just as the large natural persons have convinced the smaller persons that marijuana is a gateway drug and will ultimately lead to one stealing money from one’s neighbor to get the next heroin fix, those large persons have convinced those very same smaller persons that socialized medicine will for certain lead to those goose stepping parades and balcony reviews.

The “patriots” want their country back. Giving Barack Obama eight months to take their country away from them - the above mentioned town hall meetings began in August of 2009 - was unconscionable of the 52% of American voters who voted for him. Although he’s since proven disappointing to many voters in this country, including the independents and liberals who voted for him, these corporate fabricated grassroots movements knew before he was ever elected that he was too “uppity” to even run for the office and totally incapable of doing the job.

The article “Socialism and Democracy; The People’s Combination” attempts to explain that the word “socialism” shares its roots with such well accepted words as “social”, “society” and “sociable”. The article shows that, when thought of in that light, socialism or Socialism isn’t a very frightening word at all. Not only that, but if the premise of Socialism can be expanded to other, possibly private sectors of society, we see that not much that we do isn’t of a socialist nature. Many of those activities don’t even have a democratic component.

For example, how many workplaces, especially private sector work places, are democratically governed? Those who remember what it was like to work in a manufacturing factory in the US know that, once a worker enters the corporation’s property, democracy is left at the gate. How many of a Fortune 500 global corporation’s workers have a say in who the leader of their corporation will be? How many workers have a say in how the company can become more “competitive”? Certainly not the workers who are laid off, that’s for sure.

Where there is no union representing a workforce, corporations claim to have the freedom to “pay for performance”. Yet, the payroll, especially for the workers on the lower rungs of the employee ladder, is only so large. One worker may receive a higher salary than another worker based upon some far from democratically decided rating or ranking system, but the difference between the highest and lowest paid worker isn’t much more than a few thousand dollars a year, mere pocket change for the top employee, the CEO. In spite of the fact that many corporations have instituted what are called 360º feedback processes, many of these processes are based upon hearsay, rumor and interpersonal relationships, not upon a well thought out review of the performance of one’s peers. The decision by many large corporations to expunge front line supervisors who emanate from the ranks of the workers makes this feedback system even more of a farce. When one goes to work, one goes to a place where every non executive worker is basically treated the same by an elite management. It’s socialism of the worse kind. It’s undemocratic socialism.

This analogy can be used in the health care debate as well. Uninformed “patriots” claim that Socialism won’t work and that’s why any health care reform in the US will be dangerous. This is because a “deserving” person will be forced to pay for the health care of an “undeserving” person.

How does the private sector health care system differ from this?

The private sector is made up of groups of people, millions in some cases, who don’t know a thing about one another. These people pay premiums which create a central fund whence their health care coverage comes. However, not only do these people pay into a central fund, but they’re expected to pay more money called co-pays and deductibles before they can even draw anything from the central fund.

Why isn’t the premium paid into this central fund enough to cover the client’s health care? The overhead for private sector health care institutions is over 30%. This overhead not only covers necessary administrative costs which would exist in any business, private or otherwise, but it covers a payroll for upper management, in particular the company CEO. This is not an insignificant amount as the five top paid CEOs in the health insurance business make an average of $12,211,480 per year. This overhead is made even greater when the plush buildings which house the corporate elite are taken into consideration.

Those who oppose health reform in which government possesses any meaningful role do so, as mentioned, because they claim that government bureaucrats will simply build one more link in the bridge towards Socialism. The subsequent governing body will become far too intimately involved in the personal lives of US citizens and there will be parades on every first of May.

Consequently, by fighting government run health care, these “patriots” are saying that they’d rather be part of a privately owned and run socialist association. They’d rather the CEO and top managers of this association collect personal information about them. They’d rather take the chance of paying for the health care of people who they don’t know through this socialist association than through a governmentally facilitated association. It’s possible that these “patriots” assume that other members of the association are as “deserving” as they are because, like them, the other members can afford private sector insurance which means that those members must have jobs thus, consequently, aren’t lazy. It’s possible that it doesn’t occur to these “patriots” that there are people who do, indeed, have jobs but the health care “assistance” provided by their employers, if their employers provide any, is so lame that they still can’t afford the ever increasing premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

It’s also possible that those who oppose health care reform which includes government involvement believe that all of those who get a piece of their premiums are honest, hard working people. That’s right. Every privately owned socialist health care insurance community is populated with the most honest among us. Not one of the private sector comrades would even consider defrauding the health insurance corporation which, of course, is the socialist health care community.

Belonging to this social network not only debunks that particular society’s irrational fear of Socialism, it takes from its members any chance of having a democratic say in how the society functions. It’s already been observed that most who work for the corporation don’t have a say in how the corporation functions, but how many who pay premiums, another word for private sector taxes, have a say in how the insurance company operates? How many times have the tax paying members of those societies engaged in democratically implemented votes to decide if the private sector taxes should or should not be raised?

Charlene Frizzera, interim head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services earns a yearly salary of $172,200. This is less than the $250,000 per year that candidate and now President Barack Obama has used as a cutoff for raising taxes. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama and Hillary Clinton each said that they would not tax people making under $250,000 per year. Thus, Ms. Frizzera’s salary is less than what Obama and Clinton appeared to consider wealthy and a far cry from the $12 million dollars raked in by the average health insurance company CEO. The most absurd choice that the “patriots” make when they choose private sector, undemocratic socialism over government enabled health care is their willingness to pay 30% of their private sector taxes towards $12 million salaries for CEO and executive pay and accept that only 70% of those taxes will actually be used to help care for their health.

Overhead costs for Medicare are 3-5%. Instead of paying taxes of which 97% go toward actually caring for their health, the “patriots” opt to pay taxes of which 30% go to exorbitant salaries and expensively decorated buildings.

Until an amendment to the Constitution of the United States passes in which it specifically states that the Bill of Rights protects natural human beings and not corporations, the “patriots” have decided that they’d rather give all of their personal information to, pay taxes to and be dictated to by another person. This person is interested in its wealth and not the least bit interested in the health of its socially connected clientele.

Finally, an explanation for the repeated use of the word “patriots” when referring to those who oppose socialized health insurance (socialized medicine hasn’t even been proposed). Those who oppose health reform on the basis that they don’t want any Socialism to sully their wonderful American democracy tend to be people who are outraged by those who speak out against America’s involvement in warfare. They tend to be the same people who used phrases like “America, love it or leave it” during the Vietnam War. They tend to be the same people who support the president if the president is leading America down the path of death and destruction. They tend to be the same people who fly the American flag from their homes and have stickers of that flag pasted on the bumpers of their vehicles. They also have stickers which read “Support The Troops”. I’ve yet to see a sticker with the words “Support Americans”.

These people are “patriots” who believe America and its government excels at destroying but generally sucks at repairing. Their statement is America can be trusted to kill you but it doesn’t have the ability that the governments of all other industrialized nations have to save you.

“Patriots”, indeed.

To friendship,
Michael

“The world is governed more by appearances than realities, so that it is fully as necessary to seem to know something as to know it.” - Daniel Webster


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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The People's Health Insurance Company

(originally published at OpEdNews)

Were not Americans almost certain that universal health care would be legislated into existence during the next four to eight years? Were not Americans almost certain that at least one financial burden would be removed from their shoulders over the next four to eight years? Were not Americans almost certain that it could hold its head high as it showed the rest of the world that its government can be as compassionate and as competent as the government of any other nation in the world? Was this not part of the message that Americans sent when they went to the polls in November of 2008?

What have Americans learned about hope and its government?

Americans have learned that its government is neither willing nor able to do what the governments of every other industrialized nation in the world are able and willing to do. They have learned that their government is unable and unwilling to meet its mission statement. Lest we forget what the mission statement is:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Our government has decided to ignore the promise to “promote the general welfare”.

The Democrats, the political party that’s supposed to be a loyal opposition to its only competitor, the Republican Party, has violated a political anti-trust guideline. It has joined with The Republican Party to ensure that Americans continue to pay premiums to insurance companies which guarantee the CEOs and top managers titanic incomes the likes of which should embarrass them. They should be embarrassed by those incomes because they should know that US citizens just recently obtained the ability to work for no less than $7.25 an hour. They should be embarrassed by those incomes because those incomes are gained from the illnesses and injuries of Americans. It is only by charging premiums, co-pays and out of pocket payments which are strains on middle class Americans and out of reach for lower middle class and poor Americans that these individuals are able to collect such monumental paychecks.

We got our government’s message, though, didn’t we? We don’t need no stinking government handouts. We’re a proud people and we choose to support ourselves. We choose to support ourselves in spite of the fact that a large and growing number of us have no means of support. We choose to support ourselves in spite of the fact that wealthy CEOs and top managers in the private sector make the jobs in their companies and corporations available not to Americans, but to those who live in foreign nations, preferably poor foreign nations. We choose to support ourselves, which includes having the wherewithal to pay for medical care, without worrying about becoming poor or poorer or just plain broke, in spite of the fact that CEOs and top managers of American based corporations pad their salaries by hiring workers in nations where workers are happy to receive what in this nation would be a poverty level income. We choose to support ourselves in spite of the fact that CEOs and top managers in the private sector grab and maintain their wealth with such a protective spirit that they manufacture their goods in countries which are not wealthy enough, powerful enough or ethical enough to protect the air which their citizens breathe or the water which their citizens, paid poverty level salaries by American corporations, drink.

That’s OK, Mr. President, members of Congress and true leaders of our nation, the heads of American based corporations, pay us no mind. We can take care of ourselves. After all, you decided to stop paying us a living wage and allowing us to lead what we came to know as an American middle class existence a long time ago, didn’t you?

What if A People’s Health Insurance Company was organized and incorporated? What if The People’s Health Insurance Company should differ from other insurance companies is some significant ways?

First, the structures in which every employee of The People’s Health Insurance Company worked would be modest. They would be comfortable for the employees because, unlike the insurance corporations that presently exist, the leaders of The People’s Health Insurance Company would realize that most of their employees, those who make whatever profit the company may incidentally make, are people in need of fairly priced health insurance and a living wage. The People’s Health Insurance Company would use the greenest of technologies to provide comfortable working conditions for its employees. There would not be one unnecessary gadget, decoration or other expense put into the structures in which every and any employee worked.

Secondly, although no one would earn less than a living wage, no one would earn more than a living wage. Granted, the more responsibility one has in The People’s Health Insurance Company, the more one would be paid. This means that employees in the highest positions in the company would earn about $250,000 per year. The top employee, whether a president or a CEO, would earn no more than four times what the lowest paid employee earned. That would be the guideline which The People’s Health Insurance Company would always use for defining the pay scale for its employees.

Thirdly, when any one of its employees fails to meet her or his expectations and a decision is made that he or she is not a good fit for her or his position the company would do whatever it could to keep the employee and find something of value which the employee could do. However, if the company must part ways with any of its employees because that employee refused to do the job for which she or he was being paid, the company would cease to pay that employee. This may not seem unusual and it should not be unusual. Nonetheless, one way in which The People’s Health Insurance Company would differ from other insurance companies is that this policy would hold true for all cases, including those involving the highest positions of management, including the CEO. The CEO or leader of The People’s Insurance Company would not continue to be paid if she or he left the company on unfavorable terms.

The employees would, of course, have the right to organize so that the fair labor practices which were put into place in the beginning would be able to withstand the unforeseen leadership of a potential future greedy leader.

The lack of ornamentally extravagant surroundings coupled with the fair pay practices would be the reason The People’s Health Insurance Company would be able to offer everyone and anyone who is a citizen of the US or is even visiting the US any medical care necessary. It would not be free as our government insists that a profit must be realized from the illnesses or injuries of Americans. There would be a payment expected. That payment would be a monthly premium based upon a sliding scale. That premium would be the only payment expected of the clients. There would be no one in the United States who The People’s Health Insurance Company would not cover. In fact, it is quite possible that those who now receive coverage through their employers would view The People’s Health Insurance Company as a competitive option. It is quite possible that The People’s Health Insurance Company would help to lift the burden of providing health care support from businesses large and small. It is quite possible that The People’s Health Insurance Company would even provide “special” arrangements for people who worked for large American based corporations who kept their manufacturing facilities in this country or returned those facilities to this country. The People’s Health Insurance Company would reserve the right to audit the pay practices of corporations to make certain that they pay their employees what The People’s Health Insurance Company would consider a living wage.

The People’s Health Insurance Company would not turn anyone away who needed health care support. This includes those who are today protesting on behalf of wealthy insurance company CEOs and/or protesting our president’s skin color. Those people would come to The People’s Health Insurance Company for health insurance in spite of the fact that they are today not allowing our government to provide health care support for them.

Finally, there are medical providers who also want to see universal health care implemented, but who want to make sure that they are also treated fairly. The People’s Health Insurance Company would operate under the premise that providers entered the occupation to provide medical care to people, not to become wealthy from merely doing a job. The People’s Health Insurance Company should look forward to working with doctors, nurses and medical facilities whose main goal is to promote the general welfare. These would be proud and patriotic Americans who realize that illness and injury do not exist for the purpose of providing them a generous paying job.

Admittedly, this is only a straw man for what The People’s Health Insurance Company could do.

The People’s Health Insurance Company would need to get support from those who have a significant financial fortune and who are today in favor of the kind of universal health care that every other industrialized nation provides. The People’s Health Insurance Company will never even get off the ground without straight out donations from those who can donate significant sums of money. This should not be a problem as we all have seen people who are wealthy by almost any standard express support for universal health care. And that is exactly what The People’s Health Insurance Company would be providing, universal health care. If this never happened, we would have the right to question the sincerity of people who are expressing support for universal health care.

Universal health care is something the US government should be providing for American citizens.

It’s sad that Americans who believe that ours is a “we” society and not an “I’ve got mine so screw you” society would have to fill the gap left in the Founding Fathers’ mission statement with no help from their government. However, as stated, we heard our government’s answer to the question, “Do you intend to promote the general welfare of Americans?” and that answer has always been, is now and will no doubt always be a resounding, “No!”

To friendship,
Michael

“The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.” - Edwin Schlossberg

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Taking the Trash to Task

(published by OpEdNews)


It took almost the entire presidency of George W. Bush for people to understand that The Regime was lying about why it sent people to die in Iraq. There, indeed, were comparisons to Hitler by those who saw Bush, Cheney and others promoting and actually carrying out overreaches of the executive branch. For the greater part of the so called “Bush Administration”, those who opposed The Regime were marginalized and dismissed by the mainstream media.

Immediately following 9/11, it would have been very difficult to find an American who did not stand firmly behind his/her president. That loyalty, although misdirected, was carried into the invasion of Iraq.

The real “attacks” on The Regime happened not only after it was selected in 2000, but after it began leaking the fact that it intended to invade Iraq. This was in 2002, almost two years after the 2000 election. Furthermore, the opposition was based upon policy and only policy. It was based upon policy that it took The Regime almost two years to formulate.

Before Barack Obama was even inaugurated in January of 2008, there was already one well organized web site dedicated to impeaching the then president-elect. That’s how long it took people to realize that Barack Obama’s “presidency was a failure and based upon a lie”.

Yesterday, September 12, 2008, 8 ½ months after that inauguration, Glen Beck and the corporate sponsored FreedomWorks Foundation led what was described as tens of thousands of people in a march on Washington, DC. Naturally, the sponsors of the event claimed that there were a million or so people in attendance. If there were truly 400 or 500 people in attendance, one could dismiss the event as being overhyped by its organizers. However, MSNBC claimed that “tens of thousands” of so called “fiscal conservatives” showed up to “protest government spending”.

As proven when the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in Paradise Square in Bagdad, the positioning of the camera taking the picture can veil the truth about the actual number of people in attendance at any event.

However, MSNBC is not likely to give the sort of crowd that showed up yesterday in Washington an inch more credit than it deserves. Several camera shots reinforced the numbers of people claimed to be in attendance by MSNBC and other news outlets. There are a lot of people in the US who may not like what Barack Obama has proposed for the nation during his 8 ½ months as president. More importantly, however, since what Obama has proposed has mostly been for the benefit of the kind of people who are in the financial class as most of those attending yesterday’s rally, it should be difficult to understand why in such a short time so many would express such deep rooted hate of Obama’s policies so early into his administration.

An email made its way around cyberspace earlier this summer. It was a copy of a letter which was supposedly written by an executive of The Proctor & Gamble corporation. As you will see, the letter doesn’t deal much with policy, but it is, nonetheless, a letter attacking President Barack Obama. It is also an insight into what drove so many people to Washington DC on September 12, 2008.

The letter is an example of the kind of unsubstantiated trash that those who are for the most part uninformed send out. Those who originally sent the letter out felt that everyone should read it and find out the “truth” about our president.

I partially agree with these people. I believe all should get a chance to read the letter, not to find out the “truth” about our president, but to find out the truth about those who write such letters and those who showed up yesterday in Washington DC.

Well known writer/author Ron Suskind wrote an article for The New York Times in October of 2004. The title of the article is “Without A Doubt”. The article dealt with the then potential consequences of the results of the 2004 presidential election. The following is an excerpt from Suskind’s article:

"In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

"The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."
It seems clear that the letter writer, as well as those who “marched on Washington yesterday, may still believe in the practice of trying to create reality. The letter, after all, is extremely creative.

I read this ugly, lie riddled letter and I felt obligated to point out some of the fantasies.

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA

Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.
Senator Barack Hussein Obama truly began running for the presidency of The United States after delivering an enlightened, powerful and revealing keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic Party convention.

Obama used the first 314 words of that speech to briefly introduce himself, his background, his family and their backgrounds.

He spoke of his father, his mother, his grandmother and spoke with extreme pride about his grandfather who signed up for duty after Pearl Harbor and “marched across Europe” as part of George S. Patton’s army.

It would have taken mere moments of attentive listening to begin to learn about Barack Obama on the evening of July 24, 2004.

I googled “Obama biography” and it returned 4,670,000 hits. If one doesn’t know anything about Barack Obama, it can only be because one doesn’t want to know anything about Barack Obama.You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.
I began to read some of the multitudinous biographies in an attempt to find out just how President Obama paid for his expensive Ivy League education and the letter writer is correct, there isn’t an awful lot about how he made those payments.

Then it dawned on me. I began to read biographies of several presidents and their methods of payment for post secondary education aren’t exactly crystal clear either. The question, then, becomes, “Why does it bother the letter writer so much because he can’t find ledgers documenting this particular president’s college payment schedules?”

I did get the following quote from one of the many, many, many biographies:

“With a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. He was raised with help from his grandfather, who served in Patton's army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank.

“After working his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans, President Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants.”

This is more than one would find about many presidents.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.
Are those who live in parts of our nation called “Little Italy” or “Chinatown” culturally American? I submit that the letter writer would answer, “No.”

It’s difficult to pin down who is and who is not culturally American in the United States, a truly multicultural nation.

After his birth in the US state of Hawaii in 1961, no matter where he resided, Barack Obama remained the son of an American woman and the grandson of another American woman and, as mentioned, a member of The Greatest Generation.

There were presidents who knew only of foreign lands through what they may have read and been told.

This was completely understandable in the 19th century. However, for an American president to not have traveled abroad before being selected president in 2000 is inexcusable and, considering the wherewithal of the man of whom I speak, is lazy and apathetic.

On the other hand, Barack Obama learned first-hand of cultures that were far from American and the richness of that hands-on education has and will continue to serve him well during his presidency. Considering the cultures with which the US has recently been at odds, it is to our benefit that our president knows those cultures intimately so he can avoid looking at them through purely hubristic, jingoistic eyes. He is intelligent enough to avoid arrogantly calling any conflict involving these cultures a “crusade” and flaming the fires that much more.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.
Does the letter writer know how may presidents have run a company and met a payroll? I didn’t think so. This and the next point of “fear” are just “close your eyes and throw the dart” types of irrelevant and/or hypocritical nonsense.You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.

More hypocritical nonsense. It takes less than two hands to count how many people in the previous administration, an administration who sent over 4500 American soldiers to their deaths, had any military experience.

The same goes for the administration prior to that one.

So, I guess, “C’mon, who are you trying to kid?” is an appropriate response for this “fear”.You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.

“Always blaming others.”

“Always” is quite often. I can name times when Obama has said “my bad”. And blaming others makes him different than most other politicians – how?

If he’s ever blamed others, is it possible that it might be that others are to blame?

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.
Here’s a place when all that can be said is, “The truth is that Barack Obama has not aligned himself with radical extremists who hate America for half of his life – pure and simple.” I guess that makes the above statement a lie, the vomitus bile that extrudes from such toxic places as Fox Fake News and Rush Limbaugh’s well paid fat mouth. That’s the mouth that’s paid to keep this country as divided and self-flagellating as possible. The people that the letter writer obviously listens to are paid to spread lies, many which I believe they, themselves, know are lies. But, money talks and money means more to some than a United States of America.

Of course, Bill Ayers “are the radical extremists” with whom Obama has “aligned” himself. Yes, at the age of eight, Obama was right there at Ayers’ side.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America ' crowd and deliver this message abroad.
Of course, here the letter writer is referring to the president’s speech in Cairo. The president said:

“More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.”

To be fair, it would be the onus of the letter writer to disprove that the US has, indeed, colonized the Middle East, with the help of its unscrupulous leaders. It has done so to the point where we in the US extract and use more Middle East oil than do the people who live atop of that oil.

So, on the one hand, we have one president who calls it as it is and, on the other hand, a former president who chose to insult the people of the region by exclaiming that ours is a “crusade” against the people of the region. Those people and their ancestors know the horrors hidden behind the word “crusade” all too well. You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.
The United States has a Constitution and, although I pride myself on getting to know the Constitution better and better as time goes on, I had to, yet, read it again to try to find where it states that the private sector should “dominate” the social discourse in our country.

For sure the private sector has a major role to play in the US, especially in the area of commerce.

However, it is not the place of the private sector to declare war or to make laws which “promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to (the American people) and (their) posterity”. That is and always has been and always will be the job of government.

If the writer is saying that, despite what The Constitution says and in total defiance of The Constitution, the private sector, through its illegal lobbying and payoffs of members of Congress, actually make these decisions that should be made by the government, then I’d have to agree. This is an unfortunately widely accepted illegal practice that anyone who claims to be “patriotic” should be working very hard to stop.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.
The letter writer, as all who oppose government involvement in distributing and assuring health care for all Americans, should not fear government control. They should be embarrassed and ashamed that The United States of America is the only industrialized nation in the world who sees health care as a privilege, not a right.

It never ceases to amaze me that people will campaign against their own best interests.

No one wants to do away with Medicare or the VA, two “socialized medicine” systems which are managed efficiently and effectively by the government. I don’t hear members of Congress wanting to do away with their health care plan; another government provided, paid for and administered system.

We trust government when it comes to making life and death decisions under the most catastrophic of circumstances, war. However, suddenly government isn’t up to the task of implementing and overseeing health care delivery. The double standard is palpable and the hypocrisy in ubiquitous.

You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.
Let’s look at the earth as a closed system, sort of like a space ship. The resources inside a space ship are finite. So are the resources inside the space ship earth. Eventually the resources on this space ship will run out. Isn’t finding a method of creating the energy we need from that which will not “run out” the intelligent thing to do?

I also wonder if the letter writer actually realizes what kinds of things happen when we mine the types of carbon based energy sources about which he speaks.

Is humanity the only life form upon the earth? Of course not.

Is it humanity’s right to extinguish other life forms so that humanity can continue to live the unsustainable life style to which it’s accustomed?

If you answer, “Yes”, I strongly suggest you research the word “ecosystem”. The basic meaning of the word “ecosystem” says that humanity will reap what it sows. What we destroy while mining oil, coal and shale reserves are parts of the ecosystem that we need. Indeed, it is far, far more important that we keep the ecosystem intact than it is for us to mine oil, coal and shale reserves.

Humanity needs to use the intelligence that has evolved with it to discover and/or create new sources that can give us close to what we are used to without using finite resources and damaging ecosystems.

The letter writer not only insults human intelligence and resourcefulness, but displays a total disregard for all other life forms on earth. More seriously, he shows his ignorance of the necessity of a balanced ecosystem.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.
According to the UN, the five countries with the highest standard of living are Iceland, Norway, Canada, Australia and Ireland. The US ranks 15th. This makes the premise of the above “fear” a lie on its face.

In a speech he made on July 17, President Obama said,

“I've always been a strong believer in the power of the free market. It has been and will remain the engine of America's progress -- the source of prosperity that's unrivaled in history. I believe that jobs are best created not by government, but by businesses and entrepreneurs who are willing to take a risk on a good idea. I believe that our role is not to disparage wealth, but to expand its reach; not to stifle the market, but to strengthen its ability to unleash the creativity and innovation that still make this nation the envy of the world.

“That's our goal -- to restore markets in which we reward hard work and responsibility and innovation, not recklessness and greed; in which honest, vigorous competition is the system -- in the system is prized, and those who game the system are thwarted.”

What the letter writer doesn’t speak about is the “recklessness and greed” which has been the true assailant of American capitalism.

Unfortunately, the derivatives market was based upon reality and involved peoples’ mortgages, savings and retirement accounts. As with all gambling, the house won most of the hands and the sources upon which these high stakes gamblers bet, lost and shared their losses, thus creating the untenable and immoral economic downturn which began in 2006, were mostly so called subprime mortgages. This disaster was inherited by President Obama’s administration.

Warren Buffet, the wealthiest person in the entire world, reached that position not by leading a Socialist revolution, but by using the tools of capitalism. In Buffet’s case, the tools were honest, indeed, legal economic tools.

Thus, Buffet’s 2002 exposure of the greed that was taking hold inside American corporations, especially financial institutions, and his prediction of economic catastrophe, should have been heeded, but was not. This greed manifested itself through derivatives, instruments more risky and less certain than those used by t-shirted men with unshaven faces who show up at the horse track or the casino day in and day out.

The following is a summation of what Buffet, who even the letter writer has to admit should know something about economics, had to say in 2002, six years before Barack Obama was elected president of The United States:

“I view derivatives as time bombs, both for the parties that deal in them and the economic system. Basically these instruments call for money to change hands at some future date, with the amount to be determined by one or more reference items, such as interest rates, stock prices, or currency values.

“… before a contract is settled, the counter parties record profits and losses – often huge in amount – in their current earnings statements without so much as a penny changing hands. Reported earnings on derivatives are often wildly overstated. That’s because today’s earnings are in a significant way based on estimates whose inaccuracy may not be exposed for many years.

“…the parties to derivatives… have enormous incentives to cheat in accounting for them. …often there is no real market…. This substitution can bring on large-scale mischief. In extreme cases, mark-to-model degenerates into what I would call mark-to-myth.

“Almost invariably, they (derivatives) have favored either the trader who was eyeing a multi-million dollar bonus or the CEO who wanted to report impressive “earnings” (or both). The bonuses were paid, and the CEO profited from his options. Only much later did shareholders learn that the reported earnings were a
sham.


“Another problem about derivatives is that they can exacerbate trouble that a corporation has run into for completely unrelated reasons. …It all becomes a spiral that can lead to a corporate meltdown.

“Derivatives also create a daisy-chain risk that is akin to the risk run by insurers or reinsurers that lay off much of their business with others. In both cases, huge receivables from many counter-parties tend to build up over time. A participant may see himself as prudent, believing his large credit exposures to be diversified and therefore not dangerous. However under certain circumstances, an exogenous event that causes the receivable from Company A to go bad will also affect those from Companies B through Z.

“In banking, the recognition of a “linkage” problem was one of the reasons for the formation of the Federal Reserve System. Before the Fed was established, the failure of weak banks would sometimes put sudden and unanticipated liquidity demands on previously-strong banks, causing them to fail in turn. The Fed now insulates the strong from the troubles of the weak. But there is no central bank assigned to the job of preventing the dominoes toppling in insurance or derivatives. In these industries, firms that are fundamentally solid can become troubled simply because of the travails of other firms further down the chain.”

How prolific was this risky trading of derivatives? The worth of the derivatives now out, the bets that have been made against such resources as mortgages, is now $1.4 quadrillion. That’s right, quadrillion dollars. The GDP of the entire planet is $45 trillion. There are more derivative “bets” out right now than there is money to pay them off, should they come due. Exactly how is Barack Obama to blame for this madness which began in 2006?

As you can see, President Obama has not killed any goose, capitalist or otherwise.

You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.
As you can plainly see from the previous response, those who hold banks and corporations hostage are the CEOs and top executives of those banks and corporations.

In 1980, the median pay for CEOs of multinational corporations was 42 times that of the workers who made those companies tick, who actually produced the wealth.

Today, that number is 344. The median income for CEOs of multinational corporations is 344 times that of the people who actually create the wealth.

What is patriotism? Is it patriotic for the CEO of an American based corporation to ensure the unemployment of American workers while they rake in millions and millions of dollars? As of late, much of this compensation is in response to a job well failed. CEOs do something that they are trying like hell to stop their workers from being able to do. They sign contracts before they begin working for a company. Not only do these contracts ensure them an obscene salary while they are employed. These contracts ensure that the CEOs receive severance packages when they leave the company which are worth more than the front line worker will ever earn in her or his entire career. These are the same CEOs and top executives who throw American workers out into the streets in favor of slave labor found in Asia, Mexico, Central and South America. These CEOs receive these obscene severance packages whether they retire or are fired. It doesn’t matter if they’ve failed. Even if they’ve failed, they take an enormous amount of money with them when they leave the company. That’s money that could be paid to front line workers who, in turn, would spend it, consequently strengthening the economy.

Who are the extortionists, indeed?

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.
Democrats support Democratic presidents and Republicans support Republican presidents. However, no party has supported a president in such tight lock step as did the Republicans of the 108th and 109th Congresses. They supported a president who spent money he didn’t have to wage war with a country who did nothing to The United States of America. They, and Democrats as well, supported the president and his illegal war that took the country from a $128 billion budget surplus to a $496 billion deficit. Now that’s a congress that shrinks from its responsibility.You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

Barack Obama is well versed in communications technology and is using it to encourage and accept interactive, two way communication with the American people. One tool he’s using is what is called The Open Government Blog. Never in the history of the United States of America has a president been so open with the American people. Granted, he has more technology on his side than most previous presidents. However, the Clinton and the Bush administrations could also have used the very same technology to open the debate and the discussion, but chose not to do so.

It is apparent that intelligent people are just the people with whom President Obama wishes to interact. This may be the reason the letter writer isn’t aware of the president’s Open Government Blog.

Additionally, do we know of any other president in modern history who would have invited the two parties involved in a local police matter to The White House for a beer to talk the situation through? No, we don’t.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.
Ah, and the truth begins to ooze out! The letter writer is presuming to know what Barack Obama believes about himself. Where does the letter writer get this inside, very inside, information?

We can only learn what people believe about themselves if those people choose to tell us what they believe about themselves.

I’ve heard Barack Obama say that he has enough confidence in himself to be president of the United States. George W. Bush, John Kerry, Bill Clinton…on down to Theodore Roosevelt; each person has told his contemporaries that he believes he can be president. Expressing and sharing that belief is necessary if one wishes to run for the presidency. It’s anything but arrogant.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the letter writer hasn’t heard President Obama say much. I honestly believe that I’ve heard more of what the president has said than the letter writer has heard and I’ve never heard President Barack Obama say the he believes he is omnipotent and omniscient. Furthermore, I know that President Obama is far too intelligent to believe that about himself or about any other human being.

The letter writer has begun projecting and the truth begins to come to the surface.You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.
The media gives a president a free pass when it does not question a president who uses resources that should be used to capture those who took down The Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 to invade a nation who had nothing at all to do with that event.

The media gives a president a free pass when it knows of a British cabinet meeting held on Downing Street in which it becomes clear that President Bush intended to invade Iraq, whether or not it possessed so called weapons of mass destruction. What mainstream media outfit ran with this?

Bush lied to Congress and to the American people when he said that Saddam Hussein had 48 hours to leave Iraq or face an American invasion. According to the notes taken during the July 23, 2002 Downing Street Cabinet meeting, The American Regime was going to invade Iraq no matter what the outcome of the UN vote was and no matter if Saddam Hussein stepped down or not.

This lie was not as large and as important as the lie that forced Nixon out of office. The Regime’s lie was much, much bigger than Nixon’s lie and much, much more important and involved putting American troops in harm’s way for absolutely no good reason. Where were investigative reporters like Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward? This should have brought The Regime down and brought it down quickly.

That’s a shameful pass given to a murderous regime by a compliant press.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O'Relllys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.
First of all, we should all be thankful that there aren’t “Limbaughs”, “Hannitys”, “O’Reillys” or “Becks”. We should be thankful that there is only one of each of these people.

Secondly, the letter writer shouldn’t fear any attempt he believes the president is making to silence the above mentioned people because, if there is such a plan, it’s unfortunately not working.

The people mentioned above are paid handsomely to keep Americans divided and to keep the flames of hate and discontent burning.

I said that people can’t know what others believe. However, I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that one, some or maybe all of the people mentioned above and those that spew anti-American venom on the Fox Fake New Network may not believe what they shout. Some of the people do, indeed, seem intelligent and, if that’s the case, they know very well that what they do is build obstacles to a truly United States of America. They are paid handsomely to do this.

They are as successful as they are because, judging from the kind of trash contained in this so called letter and judging from what I’ve heard their followers say, their followers listen to them, watch Fox Fake News and are loathe to do any research on their own. Keeping a loyal following is easy if one’s followers take what one says as the gospel truth and don’t check the facts.

My sense is that the followers of Fox Fake News, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck unfortunately get all of their information from these people and do no investigation on their own.

As far as the president’s trying to silence these people, I have to, again, point to the Open Government Blog. Anyone, even those mentioned above, can add to the blog.

However, these people don’t want to add to an open and honest discussion of issues. These people, like the letter writer, want simply to shout at the moon and anger those who are too lazy to read.

I challenge anyone who believes the lies to begin to become an independent student of current events and of history. Do your own reading and researching.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.
The problem is there hasn’t been any governing for at least the past eight years.

In fact, an important advisor to the previous Republican administration made the following statement:

“I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

Remember derivatives – the wealthiest people in the world have more worth tied up in derivatives than there is worth in the world. People like this need to be at least regulated, if not, indeed, controlled.

An American government who cares about all of its people, not just the wealthy, will regulate those who, for some reason, believe they have an unfettered right to all of the wealth in the world.

Read the polls. Look at the results of the last election.

Americans want America to ensure that their children receive a good education.

Americans want America to ensure that all Americans have access to needed health care.

Americans want America to keep its citizens safe.

Americans don’t want America to spread what it thinks would be an appropriate form of governance to other nations by bombing those nations into submission.

Under President Obama, there is, once again, a democratically elected American government which is trying to bring back the conditions that created the great American middle class.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.
President Obama did not produce The Patriot Act, a shameful piece of legislation, approved by members of Congress with both Rs and Ds after their names. Those who voted for this intrusive, invasive and illegal “law” should have been removed from office and not been allowed to hold any public office in The United States. That’s the kind of legislation that should make the letter writer “scared” and not feel safe to write what he thinks.

However, this letter writer didn’t write this letter out of a concern for America and Americans. I submit that the letter writer is probably repulsed by more than half of the American people. I say this because more than half of the American people are not Caucasian.

This letter, like yesterday’s “march on Washington, was created out of hatred and racial intolerance.

Remember “America, love it or leave it?” It’s what I was told so many times when I thought that the government of this country was engaged in wars it should not have been fighting. I was told that to disagree with “your president” or “your government” was unpatriotic.

I will not use the same line for those who believe that this letter contains anything substantive and should be sent out to everyone so everyone can see what President Barack Obama is “really all about.” I will not say to them, “America, love it or leave it.”

However, if the reason they find this letter so “awesome” and are passing it around, hoping to create hate toward our president; if the reason tens of thousands of them rallied in Washington DC yesterday, carrying hateful posters which depicted President Obama as Hitler, Stalin or in any other disrespectful manner is that they are racists, then they should just say so. They need to cease attacking the character of the President of the United States of America by pointing to anything that resembles policy. The fact is they don’t care about President Obama’s policies. They need to admit that. They’re ignorant, intolerant racists and I will say that there is no longer any room for them and their racism in The United States of America.

There is no need for them and their racism in The United States of America.

In fact, I submit that most of us, the vast majority of Americans, actually desire that they exit our country and take their racism with them.

To friendship,
Michael

“It's not the voting that's democracy, it's the counting.” - Tom Stoppard

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“Your Magazine”

Message to a Racist

(originally published at OpEdNews)

OK, let’s get real. There are several reasons why it’s so easy to talk people into opposing something that could be for their own good. In the case of health care reform, the biggest reason is racism. And this time around it’s a twofer.

First, you oppose health care because it’s being proposed by an American racist’s worse nightmare, a Black president. That’s right, Barack Obama has saved you from having to blame the potential beneficiaries of health care reform.

When others like President Clinton have proposed reform, you had to be a bit more open. To paraphrase something I heard with my own ears, “I don’t want to pay for health care for Leroy or José.”

Take note, Sparky. How many dead bodies have you had to drive over or step over today? None, you say. If you’d like, I can explain that to you.

We’ve not yet gotten to the point of outright denying health care to people just because they can’t pay for it. Poor people with black skin, brown skin and, yes, even white skin ultimately receive medical treatment. Granted, they get it by going to hospital emergency rooms and they get it when their condition is so bad that the care they need winds up costing more than it would have cost if they had insurance or the wherewithal to go to a doctor earlier.

No we haven’t yet begun to just let people die out on the street. I’m thinking you actually know who pays for the care of those poor people who have no insurance and end up going to hospital emergency rooms. In case you don’t, I’ll tell you who pays. I do and so do you. So, want to or not, you’re paying for Leroy and José and even some White guy named, let’s say, Bubba.

If that’s not enough to get you to stop shooting yourself in the foot, consider this.

I’m assuming that you have health care insurance. I think this because, if nothing else, you’re selfish. You may have to hold your nose, but, if you didn’t have health care insurance and there was a way for you to get it, even if it’s on someone else’s dime, you’d be for it.

You pay premiums no doubt. Do you know all of the people in your health insurance network? Are you one of those manly men or manly women who never get sick? It’s just that you wouldn’t be crazy enough to be without health insurance because you know that you just might need medical care one day. Besides, your employer still kicks in a little something, for now.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I suppose that you’re not a big believer in mental health treatment. I’m going to assume that you don’t believe that mental illness is caused by anything biological or physiological. You probably think that people who claim to have or who have been diagnosed with depression, panic/anxiety disorder or obsessive/compulsive disorder are pussies and are just hiding behind those phony words.

Here’s a shocker for you. Not all Leroys, Josés or even Bubbas are lazy bums who don’t have jobs. Some work and some are even in your health insurance network. It gets better.

The fact that you don’t think that mental illness is a biologically based disease doesn’t prevent mental illness from actually being a biologically based disease. Your insurance company knows this and covers mental illness treatment. It covers it for a person whose name is John, Bubba, Leroy or José. That’s right, my racist fellow American, you may be paying for someone you disdain because of how he looks to receive treatment for an illness you don’t “believe in”. Furthermore, instead of paying for it with a small tax donation, you’re doing it with your outrageous insurance premium.

This is fun, you know? And I’m not even finished yet.

I haven’t checked, but I would be willing to bet that not one CEO of a major health insurance company is Black or Hispanic. However, I worked for a Fortune 500 global corporation and, even though I’m not proud of that fact, I was able to watch as that corporation was promoting people with dark skin to major positions. In spite of what you believe, once they get there, they are legitimately there, just as our president is legitimately our president.

So, Mr. White, you could be paying for dark skinned people to receive emergency room treatment with your taxes, dark skinned people to receive treatment that you don’t even believe is needed with your premiums and possibly a $1, $2 or $3 million dollar or more salary for a dark skinned executive who works for your private sector insurance company.

Hold on, I have one more.

If you are beating yourself up by turning your back on the chance to maintain health insurance whether you keep or lose your job, I’m going to posit that you supported your president when he invaded Iraq. You no doubt had a love/hate relationship with 9/11. Even you, like the rest of us, were angered and, dare I say, saddened by what happened on 9/11. However, you might have liked it just a little bit because it gave you the opportunity to use the pejorative “towel head”. 9/11 even helped you learn a new one, “haji”.

You don’t want your tax dollars paying for health care for Leroy or José, but you don’t mind paying for bombs, at least you didn’t mind and I’m betting, even if you turned on Iraq, your support was good to the last drop. After all, it enabled you to call people like me traitors and unpatriotic. You just love calling people names, don’t you? I used to do it, too, when I was in first grade. Well, I admit, referring to you as a racist is a bit cathartic for me, but I only do it because you are one.

What’s a bomb? What’s that precious tax dollar paying for?

The government gives a private contractor lots of money, some of it yours, to take some steel, mold it, possibly fill it with something volatile and then load it onto a plane. The plane then flies over some “target” in Iraq or now, maybe, Afghanistan, and drops that molded metal or propels it into a building. What happens to your tax dollar then? It breaks into billions of little pieces, never to be of any use ever again. Bye, bye tax dollar.

Of course, you’ll justify it if there are 100 members of The Taliban inside the building and they’re all burnt to a crisp. You won’t entertain the possibility that your tax dollar collaterally burnt 100 Afghan children to a crisp because that might even bother you.

Well, that’s it, I guess. Continue to shill for your HMO protectors, even though they won’t protect you if you should lose your job. And continue to pay for what you think you’re avoiding. I see no good reason for you to start thinking logically now.

To friendship,
Michael

“In journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right”. - Ellen Goodman

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“A Sad Song”

Monday, April 20, 2009

And Then There Was This Two Year Old

(originally published by OpEdNews)


You may have been asking yourself, “Hey, where’s that guy who wrote those outstanding articles about letters written to the editor?” nutritious

Well, I don’t know where that guy is, but you may remember I wrote some columns which were inspired by letters to the editor as well. I stopped doing that, at least for a while. Maybe for good, who knows?

One of the reasons I’ve stopped writing those particular columns was that far too many of the letters to which I responded were written by people who were exercising their first amendment right to exhibit the courage to write about subjects without the safety net of factual information. I found myself lately defending President Barack Obama. The issues that the people were choosing to write about dealt mostly with the economy. The letter writers were accusing Obama and the Democratic Party of attempting to create a Socialist nightmare within the borders of The United States, as well as Hawaii and Alaska. I felt it necessary to remind people that even a Libertarian government which federalized a miniscule armed force would be practicing socialism. A lot of the benefits of living in the US are the results of socialist systems.

A lot of the real estate upon which tax hating, tea bagging racists held their “passionate”, “grass roots” protests were state or federal parks paid for with taxes. It would have been neat if Obama showed up at one of those so called rallies and said, “All of you tax haters, get off the grass.”

There was the letter writer who wrote that Obama was pushing that rotten Stimulus Package, meant to help the economy “unBush” by giving the states money to pump into their education programs, fix godawful roads and other infrastructure. He wrote that Obama’s methodology of getting this legislation passed was a “my way or the highway” approach.

I don’t think I reminded the writer of anything because I don’t believe the writer has ever heard of OpEdNews or even Common Dreams or maybe even MSNBC. Besides, who has time to read or watch that propaganda when you know exactly where to go to get a “fair and balanced” news report? However, I did respond by reminiscing about Bush’s Iraq War, preemptively started to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction punish Iraq for its part in 9/11 as proven by the infamous yet mythical meeting in Prague free the Iraqi people from the torture of Saddam Hussein and give them some variety by introducing them to our own brand of torture knit some democracy for the Iraqi people. I reminisced about The Front Man’s diplomatic “You’re either with us or against us” message to our “allies”.

Of course what makes the Stimulus Package so disgusting is the fact that it’s going to strap future generations with taxes needed to pay for it. The invasion of Iraq? That’s going to strap them as well, as the money for most of that worthwhile war was extracted from The Department of No Fucking Thing.

The final letter I’ll mention is one written by a woman who was certain Obama was not going to close Gitmo, that he made that promise just to get elected and that he was either a liar or too stupid to realize that closing Gitmo would not be a piece of cake. The letter was published on the day on which Obama signed the order that would have Gitmo closed within a year. I hope that this fortune teller, aka, Obama hater, doesn’t dabble in the horses or hounds. It appears that she may possess a propensity for guessing wrong.

As mentioned, I defended Obama in some of my responses. However, I was frustrated with the shallowness and even the poorly veiled racism that propelled these writers to write first and check facts – never! Maybe, just maybe, as I was “giving Obama his chance to prove to me that he was really sincere and was not just another one of them, I was arguing against poorly researched and emotional letters written by people that are just pissed that Senator White from Indiana or Congressman White from Georgia, all white and shiny and phony to the most casual of observers aren’t in the White House instead of a Mulatto who definitely fits the description of an African American and even likes basketball. When he speaks, he sometimes lets loose some of that “Black” accent, that homey speak which just proves his inferiority to those who protested with tea bags and Jim Crow sentiments.

I repeat that, however marveled I was that a Black man was elected President of the United States of America by a significant margin, I did listen to his foreign policy plans and I did note that he voted to give a pass to communications corporations that worked with The Regime in its attempt to secretly spy on anyone, American citizen or not, and made sport of some of the more “humorous” dialogues between two parties who they knew were not in any way, shape or form connected with terrorism of any kind.

You may believe that Middle Easterners hijacked planes on 9/11 as well as where that story goes. I submit if you believe that, you believe it because the tin foil hat conspiracy theorists are obviously wrong and you probably aren’t going to “waste your time” researching any of the facts that, basically, make a fool of you for believing the government sponsored fairy tale. I submit you haven’t read nearly enough if you disagree with any of the arguments which demand a real investigation into what happened on 9/11 to, first and foremost, decide “who done it”. If you’ve done any research, you wouldn’t be fair to deny that there was any reason to begin a real investigation starting from that point.

However, let’s say, just for giggles and whatever else, that the government sponsored attempt to outdo Grimm’s Fairy Tales is honest injun true. We all know what happened.

At first we were told that Al Qaeda, based in Afghanistan, was responsible for what happened on that day. If I remember correctly, at one of the more sober “vigils” in response to this attack, a New York firefighter or policeman, one or the other, walked out on stage, dropped drawer and honored us with a look at his crack while he yelled, “You can kiss my white Irish ass, Osama bin Laden.”

I can’t help but believe that this man and his white Irish ass were on the front line cheering when The Regime decided to send troops into Iraq, a move having nothing to do with bin Laden’s desire or ability to kiss any white Irish ass. There was yet another American surge of blind hate toward an ethnic group about which most Americans knew/know little if anything. This placed The Front Man high in his diamond studded saddle as he rode into the sunset to invade Iraq for what Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and other non-Iraqi related entities did on 9/11/01. Clear, lucid thought was not part of the process in this “hate anyone who might be mistaken for an Arab” fest.

If Osama bin Laden coordinated what happened on 9/11 from Afghanistan and we had reason to capture or kill him, most preferably capture him to get him to talk, we should have sent some of our sharp shooting, never missing, super duper Navy Seals, Marine Green Berets, Army Rangers, Delta Force or The Air Force Commandos to flush out Osama bin Laden quicker than one can say “Allah is great.” We could have even sent the CIA covert Special Commandos to track down the overpowering desert rat and cave dweller, capture him and bring him to face trial for the crime he supposedly “blessed”.

I don’t know for sure, but when I hear three Navy Seals knocked off three pirates with three bullets, I can’t help but think that these special operations units could have tracked down and captured bin Laden by now with one hand tied behind their backs.

But, no, he and his magic troop of mountain climbers seem to be too much for our super duper shooters and trackers and covert James Bonds.

Why go after the guy who did it, if that’s what you insist on believing without bothering to read that “other crap” which you know has no merit? No. Listen to the Front Man tell you it was bin Laden and then hang Saddam Hussein. And, most importantly of all, no matter what the facts may prove, stick your fingers in your ears and say, “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, I can’t hear what you’re saying, nah, nah, nah, nah” like big boys and girls.

I really didn’t want to write quite so much of what’s already been written by people who’ve poured hour upon hour over all the evidence from all angles.

I did want to write that Obama has finally proved that he is the new Front Man.

“See these? These are memos that prove The Regime tortured in violation of domestic and international law. But we must move forward so that it never happens again. If we release these memos, it’ll teach some future Regime that it better never commit war crimes or maybe the next administration will publicize those war crimes. Of course, they’ll also want to look forward.”

“OK, your honor, sure my client murdered his wife. But will prosecuting him bring her back. Of course not. She’s gone, your honor and I promise that my client won’t do it again, especially now that everyone knows. Wallowing in the past won’t bring her back. Looking to a future where no other wife will ever be murdered again is what we have to do.”

“Oh, you’re so right. You’re so forgiving in a Christian sort of way and, as we are a Christian nation, your client is released pending the promise that he will not kill another wife and, as far as he’s concerned, no man will kill another wife for fear that the murder may be revealed in a court of law.”

We invaded Iraq. It was wrong. We never captured bin Laden because, let’s face it, our lame special ops forces on whom we waste so much taxpayer money are just not up to the task. Mark that down, another tea party aimed at wasting the taxpayer money on special ops groups who can’t capture one man because they just don’t have that kind of talent.

Obama’s as much as admitted it, right? He’s not sending any special ops forces to Afghanistan to capture bin Laden. Like The Regime, he’s sending thousands of troops to build a Kabul Disneyworld. And when the first of his troops dies, he’ll make a speech, like the Front Man before him, saying, “Oh yeah, well it hurts my feelings, too, ya know. I almost started crying last night. But we must continue the effort so that Al Qaeda and The Taliban have no place to go and practice. If we make Afghanistan a democracy in our own image, where will The Taliban go and practice? Afghanistan is its last refuge. Turn Afghanistan into a democracy with a Starbuck’s on every corner and that’s it for The Taliban. Where else in the world could they go to practice being bad guys? We will have stopped them. It’s a small world after all.”

Politicians have to spend upwards of $70 million dollars to buy the presidency. That’s the way Americans like it. They like two years of stupid, brainless political commercials which talk about everything but the issues. $70 million to run for president. Is the most qualified person to be a really effective president residing here in the US? My guess is absolutely. Will he or she come up with the $70 million dollars to make a run at it? Probably not. However, if he or she does come up with it, he or she will have ceased to be the most qualified candidate. It’s just the nature of the game.I saw my two and a half year old granddaughter today. I hadn’t seen her in a over a year. My she’s gotten big. I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face or the joy from my heart. She may be taxed to kingdom come when she’s older in order to pay for what was done well before she even knew what a tax is.

Right now, today, I saw her and, believe me, she’s just beautiful. I love her. And that’s life! The rest of the stuff I wrote about above should be land-filled, along with the thespians who make their dirty money perpetuating the hate between right, left, red, blue, green. It’s their living. Keep this half of America hating the other half and the money will continue to flow into your pockets.

Rush Limbaugh, Keith Olbermann, Bill O’Reilly, Thom Hartmann, Sean Hannity, Rachel Maddow, all of you. Your paymaster is hate and as long as he’s alive, you’ll do well for yourselves.

Even Thom Hartmann who is maybe the most knowledgeable of all who own voodoo dolls does nothing with his impressive repetition of history short of validating that hateful division between one half of human kind and the other half. This keeps vegetables on the tables of people who make a living of exploiting the division.

Meanwhile, I’ve got a beautiful little girl to spend a week with. Keep up the good fight, no matter what side you’re on. It’s good for you and your bank accounts.

Oh, by the way, Sean, Thom, Keith, Ed, Glenn, Rachel, if you truly attempted a small degree of introspection, something that I’m sure scares the bejesus out of each and every one of you, you’d realize that, as much as Americans hate one another, your insistence upon broadcasting that hate does nothing but grow it. You won’t look within yourselves. After all, promotion into a higher tax bracket is your goal and that introspection would just ruin the whole thing.

“To friendship,
Michael

“When we got into office, the thing that surprised me the most was that things were as bad as we'd been saying they were.” - John F. Kennedy


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Monday, March 16, 2009

Democrats Can't Even Win Successfully

Debatable Opinions; Letters to the Editor
(originally published by OpEdNews)

A man writes to the Lincoln, Nebraska based newspaper The Journal Star that “comprehensive health care reform” is the next important legislation on which the Obama Administration should concentrate.

He says that “Government, businesses and families can’t keep up with the burdens this broken (healthcare) system places on them.”

He makes the insightful argument that “many of the thousands of layoffs in America can be directly traced to businesses’ inability to cover insurance costs” and that “our working families and their children deserve a system of health care that guarantees quality, affordable health care for everyone.”

Unfortunately for this gentleman and many of us who share his position, considering the 55-43 majority the Republicans hold in the Senate, there’s not much of a chance that President Obama’s $3 trillion budget which contains what Politico calls Obama’s $634 million “head start” toward single payer health insurance will pass.

If you’re at all confused about the numbers mentioned above, the 55-43 numbers not the $634 million number, it’s understandable. However, there is a logical explanation.

To review, not only did Democrat Barack Obama win the presidency in 2008 by a 7.2% margin of victory, but the Democrats won 25 seats in the House, bringing their total to a whopping 257. Everyone, including yours truly, thought that the Democrats won at least 7 senate seats in the 2008 elections as well. This would have raised the total of Democrats or Democratic leaning senators from 51 to 58. We can only assume that the state of Minnesota and/or the national Democratic Party are ultimately going to allow Al Franken into the more aristocratic and dignified division of congress. One, including yours truly, should be awestruck with the insurmountable 59-41 majority.

But, no, it will no more be an insurmountable 59-41 majority when Franken is finally seated than it is presently a 58-41 majority. No. In the name of “checks and balances”, a name which frightened Democrats dared not utter while The Regime was in power, 14 Democratic Senators have decided to keep the Democratic Obama Administration in check.

Lead by Democratic Senator Bob Nelson of Nebraska, the very state in which the author of the above mentioned epistle resides, the group of 14 have, for all intents and purposes, decided to scrutinize President Barack Obama the way that many Democrats and Progressives hoped that they would have scrutinized The George W. Bush Show.

If you remember, adding insult to deadly, heartbreaking misery, especially for Iraqis and American military personnel, Democrats had voted at every turn with The Regime on legislation in favor of throwing more money at Iraq. They gave The Regime this money in addition to helping it pass its enormous defense budget. Democrats and Republicans who kept voting for The Regime’s occasional requests knew that the money did not come from the defense budget.

As South Carolina's Republican Governor, Mark Sanford, points out, “it's not a good idea to spend money that you don't have…”

Sanford wasn’t speaking about the millions of dollars that we didn’t have yet we spent to perpetuate the ill-advised occupation of Iraq. Sanford was speaking about the reason why he plans to turn away South Carolina’s portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money. No matter how horrible the unemployment statistics for his state are, Sanford’s pride stands far above his constituents needs. I guess it’s not like the good ole days when spending money we didn’t have on Iraq was admirable and patriotic. In fact it was considered outright unpatriotic to vote against such spending.

In 2006, Democrats became the majority in the Senate, but only by a slim 51-49 margin. Yet, in November of 2008, they voted to exempt corporate communications giants from any responsibility or complicity in The Regime’s illegal intrusions into anyone’s and everyone’s private, public and, far more often than not, non terrorist-linked life.

They provided a loyal opposition, with the emphasis on the word “loyal”. “Obedient” opposition would have suited them better.

As already mentioned, the results of the 2008 elections would have given the Democrats no excuse to vote with Republicans. The Regime and its scary cast, starring the beadie-eyed Dick Cheney, were no longer in charge and the official numbers almost ensured that Democrats would finally be able to get populist, pro middle class legislation passed, with or without having to listen to minutes, hours or days of Republican filibustering. That is according to the official November, 2008 election results.

I don’t know where I heard the phrase, but I once heard someone express the opinion that Bill Clinton may have been the best Republican president ever.

Now it's possible that someday, someone may be able to say that the best Republican Senate ever was the Senate which was part of the 111th Congress. In fact, Indiana’s Democratic Senator Evan Bayh says, “If we’re going to get 60, we have to have the pragmatists, the moderates in the Senate, in the Democratic caucus working together and reaching out to those on the other side, of like minds…”

Bayh is correct in his premise that there are “moderate Republicans in the senate”. Three of them, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania voted for President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which allowed the bill to pass. Considering the spending cuts and tax cuts demanded by the “moderate” Republicans, the bill, already called too small by economists, was even further watered down.

The letter writer shares a great many of the concerns of his fellow Americans, the Americans who told Washington, by way of Obama’s overwhelming victory and the seats picked up by Democrats in “The People’s House” that they agree strongly with President Obama’s plan to place the nation on the road to recovery.

It’s obvious that Republicans didn’t get the message and now it’s become obvious that 14 Democrats didn’t get it, either.

Could it be possible that, even though these Capitalist greed heads didn’t listen to their constituents, they actually have heard and heeded a message? Maybe these self-serving lawmakers have understood with even more clarity the message sent to them by The Corporacracy.

I look at the present state of government and my belief that The Corporacracy owns the whole kit and caboodle, including The Executive, is being reinforced. Obama is this close to persuading me that he is, indeed, a “Corporat” (cör-pör-ãt).

I’m worrying that the hopes harbored by our sensible letter writer are too high, as were mine. There aren’t a lot of “Republicans”, including the 14 who just joined their ranks in all but name, who will ever support a single payer health insurance system or any other populist “socialist” system, for that matter. In fact, I don’t think that there are any who will.

To friendship,
Michael

“The perfect bureaucrat everywhere is the man who manages to make no decisions and escape all responsibility.” - Brooks Atkinson

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<a href="http://www.buzzdash.com/polls/some-dissent-among-democrats-on-obama-agenda-you-see-that-as-more-153917/">Some dissent among Democrats on Obama agenda. You see that as more:</a> <a href="http://www.buzzdash.com">BuzzDash polls</a>