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This is What Democracy Looks Like
Friday-Sunday, January 19-21, 2007
We're back!!!! -NG
Health Care - You're Next
Here comes the State of the Union address. Everyone ought to get ready, watch their pocketbooks and expect the worse because here it comes. According to "White House Officials" (I guess they are of the Anonymous type), President Bush is going to concentrate his speech (or whatever his handlers decide he should say) on - now, get ready - health care, immigration and energy. And - get this - his health care idea (ever wonder if a Bush idea would die of loneliness?) is a two parter: The first part is to give poor people tax breaks so they could afford to buy health care; and the second part is to institute a tax increase on those whose health care plans cost more than the national average.
To put it another way, those of you lucky enough to have some of your health care paid for by your employers will now have to pony up the taxes on those "what used to be" pre-tax dollars. And there can be no doubt that the "Employee Contribution" portion, which the overwhelming majority of us with employer provided health care pay, will be taxed as well. Today, that "Employee Contribution" is taken out before withholding and other payroll associated taxes are paid in what is known as a "Cafeteria Style" plan.
So imagine that you earn $4,000 per month and that your health care plan cost is $1,200 per month to insure you and your family. Your employer pays half and you pay half. As it stands today, all of that money is not taxed. If Bush has his way, that you'll be paying taxes on that extra $1,200 each and every month. Add that to your excesses of "usual and customary" payments to your doctors and any "uncovered" procedures you have preformed on your behalf, and you'll need a second job just to pay your health care bills.
“It’s a bad policy. We are trying to bring tax relief to the middle class. The president is trying to increase their tax liability. This proposal is inconsistent with what the majority is seeking in the House and the Senate.”
-Rep. Charlie Rangel (DEMOCRAT-NY).
And remember this: Your medical are not tax deductible until they reach 7.5 percent of you adjusted gross income, which has just risen for our fictional family by $14,400 per year!
And then, after the Bushies tell us all that their health care plan is a stroke of genius, they'll also be able to take credit for a huge increase in payroll. After all, regardless of whether your own personal liabilities have risen of fallen, your salary will show a huge increase.
And what about those who The President says will benefit the most by tax breaks so they can purchase health care? Wasn't it just a few years ago that Bush told us all that these people aren't paying taxes any more at all? Those people who "benefited" from the Bush tax cut for the rich were able to "save" an additional $100 per year while his "base" of "haves and have mores" pocketed billions at the expense of the rest of us (the middle class).
Bush really must be trying to bankrupt that vast, but dwindling majority of us who live in "the middle". Make no mistake about it - this is a tax increase and it will affect the American middle class the most.
And what if the 48 million Americans without health care coverage still can't afford the purchase price of a minimal policy? Will the Bushies force them to buy some sort of "disaster care" plan from one or more of the salivating health care providers just waiting for even more money to come into their doors?
Imagine a minimum wage earner and his wife with two full-time and two part-time jobs each. Imagine them with a pair of children to take care of. Whereas now they pay no taxes and have no health care coverage for things such as check-ups, sick visits or preventative medicine, under the Bush plan they will have to pay some set amount for a minimal plan that will, more than likely, be too late when a disaster strikes. And when that disaster strikes, what happens when the insurer decides that they won't pay, using excuses such as "experimental procedure" or "not proven effective"? By the time you force their hand, you or your loved one is either too far gone for anything to really make a difference, or you're already dead.
“treat health insurance more like home ownership,”
Someone ought to tell The President That most Americans can't actually afford their own homes.
But I want the Bush proposal to come into the House and Senate for their advice and consideration. I believe that this will start a national dialogue on health care and out the middle class directly in the middle of it. It will enable the Democratic majority on both houses the ability to propose a real plan for national health care coverage.
Let's face facts: The Bushies found another way to get some extra bucks out of the American Middle Class without harming the bank accounts of their "base" of "haves and have mores". They'll be able to pay for more wars of choice and jeep their war profiteering buddies deep in the black.
Why a plan as brilliant as this one hasn't come across since the great Social Security Scheme of 2004.
And More on Bush's New Plan
"President Bush will propose in his State of the Union address a tax break for people who buy their own health insurance and a limit on how much coverage individuals can receive tax free at work."
Let me get this right, Bush wants to punish workers for having decent health care via their employer by taxing their benefits? I thought Republicans were against tax increases; I suppose only for billionaires and wealthy oil companies.
Isn't Bush the person who says tax increases are against his religion? Maybe he hasn't been to "church" lately.
This President has completely lost his grip on reality. Put a straight-jacket on him and pump him full of some good drugs. Laura can pat him on the head and get him to sign the bills passed by the Democratic Congress.
Rice is Sticking With Plan "A"
"I don't think you work with Plan 'B'. You stick with Plan 'A',"
-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in answer to a question by Senator John Kerry (DEMOCRAT-MA)
First, one has to realize something very special: The Bush administration is being asked questions under subpoena and oath by the group of people responsible for oversight - the Senate and House of Representatives. It's something that's been missing since George W. Bush took office. Now to Plan "A".
Plan "A" sucks. It hasn't work in the past and it doesn't appear to stand a chance of working in the near, or distant future.
All one has to do is take a look back into the history of our nation to see a whole bunch of Plan "B's" which were instituted after Plan "A" was defeated. During the Revolutionary War, Plan "A" was to defend New York City, Brooklyn and Long Island against the British, However, the Brits were smarter, better equipped and outmanned us with more and better prepared troops. We lost New York rapidly and General George Washington just barely escaped. And all of this was after a previous Plan "A achieved a great success in Boston.
Had General Washington stayed with Plan "A" in New York, there would have been no victory in our revolution; there would have been no President Washington; there would have been no Constitution of the United States; and, at the very least, John Adams would have been hanged. Instead, Washington retreated through New Jersey and ended up attacking the Hessian troops at Trenton on Christmas Eve, turning the tide of war. That was Plan "B".
There can be no doubt that had General Gorge Washington instead have been General George W. Bush, there would have been no United States of America at all.
Here's a partial list of America's Founding Fathers who might also have been hanged or jailed following a George W. Bush-type Plan "A" during the Revolutionary War:
Dr. Benjamin Rush
James Monroe, a Lieutenant under Washington
And the list goes on
Plan "A" is over, Dr. Rice. It's time to get some real thinkers in there and get to work on Plan "B".
A Real Associate Press Headline
GOP Faces Tough Vote on Bush's War Plan
A tough decision. Hmm. Life was so much easier as a member of the majority REPUBLICAN congress, serving under the presidency of George W. Bush. There weren't any tough decisions to make, or really any decisions to make at all, other than how much money to take from Jack Abramoff. After all, when you serve under "The Decider", all of the decisions are made for you. All you have to do is to show up for work (three days a week for about half a year), cash your hefty paycheck (at the expense of the American people, of course) and sign on that dotted line.
The House and Senate, with their respective Democratic majorities, will vote on non-binding resolutions to display their displeasure and frustration with the Bush policy in Iraq (a little bit of barking with no biting). The REPUBLICANS will have a decision to make for the first time in quite some time when they have to decide on party loyalty or loyalty to the rest of America.
One would think that wouldn't be such a tough choice to make, even if this vote won't stop the funding of Bush's War in Iraq.
"a slow failure," or an "expedited failure,"
-Bush to PBS's Jim Lehrer
The "slow failure" Bush speaks about is how his policies are faring now, and will continue if left unchanged. The "expedited failure" he mentions is what would happen if we withdrew now. My question to The President is this: Since your policy in Iraq hasn't changed, inasmuch as an addition of some 21,500 troops only brings us closer to the troop total we had last year at this time, won't your "slow failure" option simply cost us more American lives than the "expedited" option?
Don't bother answering. We all know the truth.
So what will the GOP minority do? Will they vote with President Bush for a slow, painful death or will they vote with the vast majority of the American people and bring our troops home soon?
I am perplexed by the people who think that we should give the President's plan "a chance to succeed."
President Bush seems to be fatally caught up in the sort of thinking that goes, "if something doesn't work, do it harder and make it work." It is time to stop enabling this lame mode of thinking.
It must be clear by now that the Iraqis are in or on the verge of a civil war. How can they settle the differences they have among themselves with Uncle Sam butting in? The US troop presence in Iraq has clearly been ineffective in protecting the Iraqis from violence and has destroyed whatever ability they have to devise a peaceful future for themselves.
We bought the Iraqis a world of trouble when we invaded and destroyed their government and civil authority. It is beyond our power to restore them. The least we can do is to leave and let the Iraqis get on with the healing process.
Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are still operating and striking against our friends. Osama bin Laden has learned that he can tie down American forces and keep the heat off his operations merely by calling Iraq the central front in the war on terror. President Bush is sure to jump through Osama's hoop like a trained dog.
President Bush is on the wrong track in Iraq. He needs to stop asserting his political prerogatives and to start showing some concern for the Iraqi and the American people. Our involvement in Iraq has strengthened terrorist recruiting, turned public support away from us and toward the terrorists and created an environment of lawlessness and conflict in which terrorism thrives.
It is time for the US to get the War on Terror started. We will not be able to isolate the terrorists to Iraq forever. If we are isolated and reviled in the Muslim world, the terrorist problem will be worse when it expands from Iraq. Our losing war in Afghanistan is evidence of badly the Iraqi invasion is diminishing our power to deal with terrorism effectively.
The magnet theory that the Iraq invasion is drawing the terrorists to Iraq is ludicrous, the numerous and deadly terrorist events in other countries are one sign of the magnet theory's invalidity. If the magnet theory were valid, why do we need two magnets? Wouldn't the war in Afghanistan be enough?
The Iraq distraction must be brought to end. Instead we must capture bin Laden, and develop cooperative and effective multi-lateral policies that stop rather than abet international terrorists.
President Bush has shown that he is incapable of thinking in strategic terms. He should live up to his rhetoric and take responsibility for his manifest failure in Iraq. He should do this by limiting himself to his constitutional duty of chief executive and carry out effective policies devised by others.
We have mid-term elections to place a check in ineffective Presidents. If the Congress is unable to change our policy in Iraq, we will face the constitutional crisis of the generation: that Presidential power has grown so cancerously that even manifest failure can be continued in the face of popular and congressional disapproval.
Impeach Al "Abu" Gonzalez
Get this one, testifying before the Senate Judicial Committee, "Abu" Gonzalez said:
Abu Gonzalez: "There is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; there’s a prohibition against taking it away,"
RJS: Interesting eh? The Attorney General swore to uphold the constitution and Bill of Rights. I suppose he was ... just kidding around.
Arlen Spectre: "Wait a minute, The Constitution says you can’t take it away except in case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there’s a rebellion or invasion?"
RJS: Yes, the Supremes have already ruled exactly that way. Gonzalez demonstrated that not only is he unfit to be the AG but he should be disbarred.
For the heck of it, here is my letter to Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino, (State Senator of Albuquerque in New Mexico Legislature) commending him for being the front-runner in (very possibly) taking up impeachment proceedings against Bush and Chaney:
Dear Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino,
I would like to thank you for your immense courage and dogged efforts in striving to protect the Constitution of the United States through your consideration (and possible pursuit) of articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Chaney. These so-called leaders who once pledged to serve and protect our country have shown a blatant and appalling disregard for our Constitution and for the will of the people. They are reckless, amoral, dangerous politicians who do not have our best interests at heart.
You have my full support and I look forward to the impeachment process as it unfolds...
In response to Rep. Tom Tancredo, Kelly Taylor writes:
I was born and raised in Colorado (as were my parents). And I know this type of jerk when I hear about 'em. I used to hear all kinds of racist talk and nasty jokes about people of Mexican origin from "educated" people - or not - growing up in Denver and later in Littleton, Colo.
In my childhood, the noun "Mexican" or "Mexicans" was used so derisively over the years, that it fell out of favor with the more enlightened, fair-minded folks who used only the word "Chicano" (which in the 60's - 70's was the term favored by people of Mexican origin who had settled in Colorado and the greater Southwest).
Rep. Tom Tancredo is clearly in the category of one of the jerks types I grew up. (Is he even FROM Colorado??.)
Tommy boy will have a HUGE backlash, because there are INNUMERABLE white-collar & blue-color professional people of Chicano (or Hispanic) background who will be repulsed by his stupid nonsense. (Folks of Mexican-origin are to Colorado, what Jewish folks are to NYC!) Just for the record, my schoolmates in grade school and middle school were at least 30-40% Chicano. I had 2 big-time boyfriends in junior high and college who were Chicano and a number of my Dad's dearest friends and colleagues were also.
And by the way, TANCREDO, before you nasty, ultra-conservative types blotted out the beauty of my beloved Colorado, we were a state of DEMOCRATS. I grew up with a Democratic mayor, governor, and senators. I hope you get run outta' town on a rail via the Rio Grande and dumped in the middle of a bull fight in Guadalajara!!
In response to the troop surge, Billie M. Spaight writes:
I like what you said about Bush's escalation of the war. If America is so sick of it, the Iraqis must be even more sick of it. My fear is that the wimps in Congress will do nothing to stop the war and will just let Bush & Co. continue their lies and crimes.
Your comment about the Bushites being the greatest recruiters of terrorists is right on!
Bush says that the goal is to win a war on terrorism but then says that these attacks are unlikely to stop immediately. Someone on a list I am on pointed out the contradictions in that statement quite eloquently.
It's time for the American people to DEMAND an immediate end to the war.
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