The Truth Shall Set You Free…It might piss you off first, but it will set you free.

Archive for February, 2010

Health Care Summit or “Veni, Vidi, Vici” or IT’S TOO BIG and no I am not talking about a penis

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 27, 2010

I hope you all watched, it was long, it was tiring, it was political…just in case you didn’t see it you can access it at http://www.c-span.org

Here are my picks for best lines, ” WTF” moments, and things that make you go hmmmm…

General ideological differences as I see it:

  • Democrats:  government has a major role in establishing some basic standards of what should be in a health care policy.  Democrats want to cover 30 million people.
  • Republicans  believe that a free market with competition will solve the problem. Republicans want to cover 3 million people.

Reality – the current free market system is what we have, and it is not working, if it were working we wouldn’t be in this spot now.

It’s Too Big  or We aren’t talking about a penis here.

Reality – wtf are are you in Washington for?  Sometimes one has to think big, one has to think outside the box, solve the problem.  I am beginning to think the entire Republican party suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder, just because it is big and complicated doesn’t mean it can’t be done.  Doing this in steps is not going to be feasible, here’s an example, everybody agrees that pre-existing conditions must be covered.  This cannot be done in one small step, it is going to require everybody to get insurance, otherwise people will do what people do, game the system and not buy it until they absolutely must.  This means you must have a mandate, this means if people can’t afford to buy insurance you have to subsidize it.  I don’t think you can even address this one issue in a small bill, the issue is interconnected,  there are ramifications that extend far beyond just saying pre-existing conditions must be cover.

  • Ranking right up there with his fellow attention deficit disorder colleague is John Boehner the House Minority Leader “we can’t do it within the framework of a 2700 page bill,  that’s why the bill needs to be scrapped”
  • Speaking of the 2700 page bill, Eric Cantor had a bit of theatrics by hauling in the bill.  Again, I view this as an epidemic which evidently affects Republicans and their inability to work effectively on a complicated problem.  Perhaps those fine Republicans could check and see if  their health  insurance covers Ritalin.

Republican solution to health care tort reform

Reality  – yes we need tort reform, for some in this country it has become a job to sue somebody for something and seek compensation, but the reality is  tort reform would reduce insurance costs by  1.5 percent a year, hey we will take a reduction any where we can get it, but this is not the only thing that needs to be reformed.  – source Congressional Budget Office.

The polls say American’s don’t want this!!!!!

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell:   If you average all of the polls in America, we know that the American people oppose this proposal by an average of 55 to 37 percent. They have also been asked, and we keep reading in the newspaper that where we’re headed next is to the reconciliation approach. Gallup also asked that question, and explained to the American people what it meant so they understood what this word that we use around Washington actually means. And in the Gallup poll, the American people were opposed to using that 52 to 39.

The reality is as Pres. Obama stated is:

OBAMA: …there’s been a lot of comments from every Republican about the polls and what they’re hearing from their constituents. And as I said, I hear from constituents in every one of your districts and every one of your states.

And what’s interesting is actually when you poll people about the individual elements in each of these bills, they’re all for them. So you ask them, “Do you want to prohibit preexisting conditions?” “Yes, I am for that.” “Do you want to make sure that everybody can get basic coverage that’s affordable?” “Yes, I’m for that.” “Do you want to make sure that insurance companies can’t take advantage of you and that you’ve got the ability, as Ron said, to fire an insurance that’s not doing a good job and hire one that is, but also that you’ve got some basic consumer protections?” “Yes, we like that.”

So polls I think are important in taking a temperature of the public. If you polled people and asked them, “Is the system working right now and should we move forward with health reform,” they’d also say yes to that.

And my hope had been and continues to be, based on this conversation, there might be enough areas of overlap that we could realistically think about moving forward without — without a situation in which everybody just goes to their respective corners and this ends up being a political fight, because this is something that really has to be solved.

About reconciliation…

Pres. Obama said:
“You know, this issue of reconciliation has been brought up. Again I think the American people aren’t always all that interested in procedures inside the Senate.  I do think they want a vote on how we’re going to move this forward.”

He is absolutely right as far as I am concerned,  do something!  If you have the majority of people in agreement, then pass it.  I would not object to force feeding 2,700 pages of this bill to every obstructionist in the Congress.

Best lines:

  • Obama to McCain – John the election is over.
  • Sen. J. Rockefeller “the health insurance industry is the shark that swims just below the water, and you don’t see that shark until you feel the teeth of that shark”

Reality:  can’t argue with that.


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Bristol Palin Reality TV or No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 24, 2010

I seem to recall a certain Vice Presidential candidate in 2008 saying family, kids were off limits, and that reality shows weren’t their thing, and they valued privacy..and…and…and…What a difference a year makes.

The Palin family has embraced it 100%, nobody puts it better than Jeanne Devon of the Huffington Post:

“Why is this news?” And the answer simply is that it is not news. The Palins have not only crossed the line from news to entertainment, they’ve leapt across it with abandon.

Sarah is a commentator for Fox News, and best-selling author. Todd continues his status as Iron Dog celebrity. Levi is a Playgirl centerfold and pistachio nut spokesmodel. Bristol is a TV star and abstinence cheerleader. Trig is a press release topic, stage prop, and a tool for bashing bloggers and Hollywood media. Tripp is a “consequence,” a cautionary tale that has spawned a TV appearance by his mom, and a tool of irony to get back at his father for going on TV. The custody battle itslef is a reality show wrapped in Court TV wrapped in a soap opera.

The poor nation is doomed. Let’s face it. We have no choice. It’s like driving along the highway minding your own business and seeing something on the highway median – Look, it’s dancing dogs, and prancing ponies in spangles with women in bikinis standing on top, and shirtless men lifting giant weights, and a ferris wheel, and exotic creatures with stripes and spots, and a woman juggling bowling balls and hack saws, and fireworks and clowns riding around in small cars, and banjos and balloons, and guys swallowing swords and fire, and having someone in the back seat saying “Don’t look!”

The reality is that as long as the Palins continue to wear rainbow wigs and ride around in small cars, and take their shirts off, and juggle power tools, America will keep watching.

And after a couple seasons of “The Palins” when it’s all starting to get a little predictable, fear not. Willow and Piper are waiting in the wings.

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CSPAN – Coverage of Health Care Debates – Must See TV

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 24, 2010

Don’t forget on Thursday the televised coverage of health care.  Yes, it is long, but that is not an excuse not to watch, do not let others summarize what happens, see it yourself. 10 a.m.  CSPAN has announced it will be doing it “gavel to gavel.” (CSPAN-3 on TV, and CSAPN radio live throughout.)

It will also be streamed live at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

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Twittering Idiots or All that Twitters is Not Gold or I’m Just a Voyeur

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 24, 2010

After much pressure I have finally joined Twitter – you can all relax, as I am not a Tweeter, but a follower, and a selective one at that.  Prior to joining I did some Twitter surfing and I was in shock…

First, how much information can one really communicate in 140 characters or less?  Is this symptomatic of the fact that we as Americans have such a limited attention span that we cannot comprehend anything over 140 characters?  Just because somebody in one of your “groups” tweeted you with some information does not mean it is accurate, but does that stop people from re-tweeting this disinformation to the entire world?  Does one not have some type of responsibility to verify information in cyberspace whether it is on a blog or a tweet?

Second, do we all want a blow by blow description of  your personal life or do you have the right to tweet another individuals life all over Twitterdom?  I was amazed at the Tweet I found, in a group of “political conservatives” since this person was comfortable tweeting this to the world, why not identify the tweeter of  “Please pray for a woman on Twitter who is currently tweeting live as she aborts her baby.  She is doing a chemical abortion. ” 4:31pm Feb. 20 You will note she does not give the tweeters name etc, so perhaps this person is not having an abortion, perhaps this person does not even exist, but the tweeter just would like some attention.  Does this tweet belong in a political group or would it be more appropriate in a prayer group?  The point of all of this is that nobody seems to thinks that there is any type of responsibility that goes with tweeting, it is the new wild west.

Third, as I surfed thru Twitterdom (or should that be Twitterdumb? ) I noticed that some folks seem to be following literally hundreds of other people.  How?  How does one manage to function in the non-cyberworld, doing things like working for example, maybe you have kids or a husband or wife, hell even a dog or cat and follow 300 people or more?  and respond…and some of the responses are spats.  Some of these took me right back to being in second grade on the playground and a fight broke out, the playground divides, sides are picked and the fight begins.  But you know what?  These are not children, these are adults.  These are voters.  These are political activists.  (And thank God some choose to publish their photos – here is a little experiment for you:  Read some twitters, any twitter will do, but just follow the threads, do not look at the pictures.  Then look at the pictures and ask yourself, if i were sitting in a restaurant with this person who looks fairly average, would they be this much of an asshole in person?

Fourth, why would one waste any of their 140 character on profanity?  (Yes I have been know to let loose with a string of profanities that would make a sailor blush).

I love the internet, I love Freedom of Speech, I am the first to admit I am addicted to information, and  I am not convinced that Twitterers are the most accurate representation of the facts.  One can easily see how disinformation morphs into “fact” for no other reason that it has been tweeted and retweeted ad naseum.

I am all for “Safe Tweets” – meaning if you are going to tweet it, or blog it for that matter, take the responsibility  to verify facts, give a source,  legitimate sources, information is a powerful tool, the internet is a powerful tool – use it all wisely.

Just something to think about….

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Reconciliation or Debunking Another Republican Myth

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 24, 2010

Could somebody please tell me why politicians, and here I am referring to Republicans, think if they repeatedly say “xyz”  enough times, loud enough, long enough, it will be true.  Here’s today’s Republican myth:  Reconciliation is used for budget issues and trying to use it for the health care bill is not what reconciliation was meant for.

Here’s the truth, reconciliaton is not a new invention, it has been used before in health care issues:

 History Of Reconciliation

For 30 years, major changes to health care laws have passed via the budget reconciliation process. Here are a few examples:

1982 — TEFRA: The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act first opened Medicare to HMOs

1986 — COBRA: The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act allowed people who were laid off to keep their health coverage, and stopped hospitals from dumping ER patients unable to pay for their care

1987 — OBRA ’87: Added nursing home protection rules to Medicare and Medicaid, created no-fault vaccine injury compensation program

1989 — OBRA ’89: Overhauled doctor payment system for Medicare, created new federal agency on research and quality of care

1990 — OBRA ’90: Added cancer screenings to Medicare, required providers to notify patients about advance directives and living wills, expanded Medicaid to all kids living below poverty level, required drug companies to provide discounts to Medicaid

1993 — OBRA ’93: created federal vaccine funding for all children

1996 — Welfare Reform: Separated Medicaid from welfare

1997 — BBA: The Balanced Budget Act created the state-federal childrens’ health program called CHIP

2005 — DRA: The Deficit Reduction Act reduced Medicaid spending, allowed parents of disabled children to buy into Medicaid


Wait!!! What’s that noise?  Is that the sound of another myth being shattered?!!!!!Source


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Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty or You Don’t Pee in My Pool and I Won’t Sh*t in Your Sandbox

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 22, 2010

Recently Sec. of State Hillary Clinton has been doing a middle east tour where she called for a nuclear free middle east, and of course Iran is playing the game..and guess who else is playing?  Israel.

Once upon a time there was a treaty by the United Nations – Non Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.  Guess who has never signed it?  Israel.  For years Israel has refused to discuss it’s nuclear capabilities, although it is generally accepted that they are a nuclear state.    Does that not beg the question why do we, as the US or anybody in the rest of the world not demand that Israel disclose what they do or do not have, particularly in light of  Iran claiming to be a nuclear state.  The middle east is a simmering keg – and some nukes in there and see if the entire world doesn’t feel the heat.  Not that I have any particular love for the Iranian regime (let’s be honest Ahmadinejad is an idiot, and I fully support the Iranian people in their rebellion) but at least they are admitting they have the capabilities.   Just in time to turn up the heat Israel shows their new drone which can fly up to 20 hours, a not too subtle hint to Iran that we can reach you…there is alot of saber rattling going on, makes one wonder who is going to call whose (or should that be whoms) bluff.

I also think that in light of the financial help the US directly gives Israel they should at least come clean with their nuclear capabilities..here are some interesting facts and figures..I mean after all we bought the information one way or another.

  • Total direct aid to Israel, 1948-2003
    $89.9 billion (uncorrected for inflation)
  • Since 1976 Israel has been the largest annual recipient of US aid. It is the largest cumulative recipient since World War II.
  • Direct U.S. aid for each Israeli citizen in 2001 (per capita annual income of Israel = $16,710) — over $500
  • Direct U.S. Aid for each Ethiopian citizen in 2001 (per capita annual income of Ethiopia = $100) — about $.45
    $2.76 billion military aid grant
    $2.1 billion economic support funds
    $600 million refugee resettlement grant
    $2 billion
    Military aid grant $1 billion
    Commercial loan guarantees $9 billion
    Arrow missile development $60 million
  • TOTAL AID FOR FY 2003 $14.82 billion
  • Percentage of U.S. foreign aid that goes to Israel — 30%
  • Israel’s population as a percentage of world population — .01%
  • Section 116 of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) states, “No assistance may be provided under this part to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.” 22 U.S.C. 2304(a)
  • Section 4 of the Arms Export Control Act prohibits selling military equipment to countries that use them for non-self-defense purposes.
  • The U.S. State Department determined in February 2001 that Israel has committed each of the acts that the law defines as “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights,  including torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged detention without charges and trial, causing the disappearance of persons by the abduction and clandestine detention of those persons, and other flagrant denials of the right to life, liberty, or the security of person.” It described Israeli army use of live ammunition against Palestinians when soldiers were not in impending danger as “excessive use of force.”

SOURCES: Clyde R. Mark, ?Israel: U.S. Foreign Assistance,  Congressional Research Service, updated April 1, 2003; Clyde R. Mark,  Middle East: U.S. Foreign Assistance, FY 2001, FY 2002, FY 2003 Congressional Research Service, March 28, 2002

Sometimes I am quite confident that I am the only person in the world that doesn’t have direct access to a bomb.

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The American Concentration Camps of 1942 or Live Long and Prosper

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 21, 2010

I am always amazed at when I hear something it hits me, I knew that, but some how it gets filed away, hidden in the spiderwebs until something triggers it.   The irony of it all, American soldiers unable to speak of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, and yet in this very country  after Pearl Harbor with Executive Order 9066 we  branded Japanese Americans as the threat from within,  and sent literally hundreds of thousands to internment camps.  Of of those interred was a young Japanese American boy named George Takei (Sulu from the original Star Trek for all you fans).  Granted, we did not mass murder or torture people, but we did in fact commit a sin against their very soul.  Many of those people who were interred grew to hate America and Americans, some were so desperate they committed suicide.   It took the US government decades to apologize.  In 1988,  under Reagan, Congress passed and  signed legislation which apologized for the internment on behalf of the  US government.  The legislation stated that government actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership”.

I encourage you all to take a few minutes and listen


I look at where we are now…and those words:  “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership” and I think Gitmo, Bush, Cheney, and I wonder how far off we were or could be if the John McCain’s and Sarah Palins in the political world were in charge.  Your name might be a little middle eastern sounding the US government has a hostel for you too!

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We’ve been Stimulated for a Year – Can you feel it yet? or Where do you get your news? (A BIG plug for NPR)

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 17, 2010

How times flies when you are having fun, a full year since the stimulus.  If you listen to Republicans it was an exercise in fiscal irresponsibility, if you listen to Pres. Obama it has saved us from another Great Depression.  As you might have figured out I do support Pres. Obama, but that doesn’t mean isn’t fair game for criticism.

Here’s something to ponder, I recently had a conversation where the individual compared the current recession to the 70’s.  Saying it wasn’t as bad as that!  Of course I nearly burst a vein.  The other day on NPR with Tom Ashbrook the discussion centered around exactly who is getting hit by this recession, and a startling look at numbers.  In short the upper incomes levels in the country have had minimal impact (would this correlate to your average Republican?) and those hit the hardest (those non Republicans) are in numbers equal to if not greater than the depression.    Take the time to look at this report, look at the figures, look at how they arrived at the figures…somebody out there likes actuarial / stats stuff, what say ye?

And now my shameless plug for NPR – I love NPR – no commercials, and if they are underwritten by a big company for a particular program they come right out and say it.  As opposed to, oh let me think Fox News?  Support your NPR station!

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Afraid to criticize Israel – Lest ye be anti-semitic

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 16, 2010

I had an interesting conversation over the weekend, and I have been pondering it for awhile.  If the truth be told this is a conversation I have had repeatedly in one context or another, and inevitably the same sense of “oh, oh, that isn’t politically correct!”  So naturally I am going to expand my opinion in cyberspace…isn’t life grand?

Why is it that when there is a criticism of Israel everybody’s ass starts to twitch?   What is it that we as Americans carry within out psyche that says it isn’t nice to state the truth if it doesn’t reflect well on Israel?  And why is it that we as Americans really don’t understand what exactly is going on “over there” anyway?  It is a complicated issue, it has a long history, which I am beginning to believe if we cannot summarize it in less than 100 words it is just too much information for us to digest…and it must be those crazy Islamic people causing all the trouble anyway.

But I digress, I asked exactly this question – why do we always defend Israel?  And I heard a variety of responses.  Here are two of the more popular responses I get…

1.  We have more in common with them then we do the Muslims or Arabs, after all Jesus was a Jew.

(This answer always amazes me –  for the record I am Catholic. )

2.  The Holocaust!  Those poor people suffered.

For the record I am not a holocaust denier.  It happened, it was obscene in the fullest sense of the word, it must never be forgotten, no holocaust should be forgotten or a blind eye turned – including Rwanda, Armenia, Bosnia and the current holocaust against the Palestinian people.)

If you hang with me on the postings to come, you may hear the sounds of myths and popular propaganda  shattering …you may not agree with me, and that’s ok, most of all I want  you to think!

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Joe the Plumber – Fame Has A Price or Joe the Plumber Flushes McCain and Palin

Posted by politicalmonkey2010 on February 16, 2010

Remember him?

Seems that Joe, once the face of the average American, and a poster child for John McCain and Sarah Palin, has had a change of heart. 

Scott Detrow, a reporter for Pennsylvania Public Radio was at a Republican gubernatorial event in Pa, and  asked “Joe” why the change of heart?  It seem that Joe was a bit unkind, calling McCain a “career politician” and took a swipe at Palin for supporting McCain’s Arizona senate primary race .   True to American form Joe said:  “I don’t owe him shit. He really screwed my life up, is how I look at it. McCain was trying to use me. I happened to be the face of middle Americans. It was a ploy.”

President Obama fared a bit better on Joe’s scale…  “I think his ideology is un-American, but he’s one of the more honest politicians. At least he told us what he wanted to do.”  When asked about those who dispute Obama’s nationality and compare him to Hitler. “The birthers, the truthers — if people are trying to bunch them [with tea partiers], that would kill us. That just pushes away Democrats and independents who might come out for our cause otherwise.”

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