Sunday, August 13, 2017
It's 2017 people! Your culture is not being taken away from you. Your history is not being taken away. The South lost the war and we have been struggling ever since to live up to the ideals in the Constitution and envisioned by President Lincoln. This has been a struggle because we seem to be unwilling to accept that the South lost. The cause has been romanticized into being about the rights of the individual, unless you are property, and the rights of the States over the Federal government. Forgive me on this but there needs to be some unifying authority otherwise we cease to be a nation (a house divided cannot stand) and that authority is the Federal government. The States are currently passing laws to get around the civil rights measures that were passed in the 1960's and the Federal government is doing nothing. Based on what we witnessed over the weekend not only are the civil rights laws need the Federal government should be undoing what the States are doing.
I don't know what's more frightening privatizing the war in Afghanistan or the fact that we have a para-military group in the country that can deploy 5,000 troops to Afghanistan. When I first read about this idea I could not believe it, I thought that it was fake news. Then I saw that the ruling party is seriously considering the idea. This might be the worst idea ever. You cannot turn the fighting of a war that is being fought in the name of the United States over to mercenaries. These mercenaries will not be accountable to the people of the United States or even to Congress, their loyalty will be to their employer. And then there is the problem of a private fighting force that is at least 5,000 strong. This is crazy to allow a potentially hostile army to operate within the country. What happens if the CEO decides that he doesn't like the direction of the country and decides to takeover? This country should not be outsourcing any of the tasks that this company is currently doing for us. Instead we should be trying to figure out how to shut this company down. If we have no desire to fix the mess that we created in Afghanistan we should leave instead of privatizing the war because that will only make it worse.
Saturday, July 22, 2017
I was reading Time magazine the other day when something that I had heard for the last several years really hit me. Someone had written in complaining about Time's coverage of Donald Trump Junior saying that both sides need to be presented. The presenting of both sides is a recent phenomenon having risen with Fox news who presented a completely different point of view and in many cases completely wrong. Now we have a President who calls out the fake news, the problem is that the organizations that he is calling out get it right more times than they get it wrong, whereas sources that he holds up as accurate are wrong way more than they are right. Which brings us to the problem of presenting both side in a story. What if the other side is completely wrong? Fox said that they were fair and balanced but they never presented the other side, no balance. The hated media would be doing a disservice if they presented as fact both sides of an argument particularly if one side is completely wrong.
Admittedly our road funding is a mess, and now that we are experiencing unprecedented rainfall the lack of maintenance has really shown up. There are those who think that the problem stems from not raising the gas tax for many years. That is certainly one component of the problem. A bigger source of the problem is when under the Thompson administration we began defunding the schools by allowing vacant land (including farms and forests) to be taxed at a lower rate. This resulted in a big tax increase to people living in the cities and on rural developed land. Well those taxes paid for more than schools, they also cover the roads. Counties and townships now had less money coming in from taxes, less money from federal and state grants so they deferred the maintenance on roads. The counties and townships could have solved this problem by funding their roads the way cities fund theirs by making each landowner pay half of the cost of the road. The large landowners didn't think that this was fair and got their way. Now we have reached the tipping point where the roads are crumbling and the GOP has no idea what to do. It is clear that a gas tax increase would help but it is not the answer due to more fuel efficient vehicles. Cutting what people are paid would also help (the GOP likes this idea because they believe that people working for the government shouldn't get paid). Increasing the cost of car registration and linking it to vehicle weight would also help. So would a use fee for farmers and loggers who drive heavy unlicensed equipment on the roads. And I think that we'll need to make all highways toll roads. That combination is the only way to get the money that we need.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
President Trump and the Pope have weighed in on a medical case in England where the doctors want to pull the plug on a baby that is going to die from an incurable condition. I get the Pope's position, I do not get our President's position. He is prepared to sign a bill (assuming that the dysfunctional Republicans can get something to him) that would have already killed this child. That's right the party of pro-life is only concerned about life until just before birth. They would make maternity care optional (cost a lot of money). They would instill lifetime benefit caps (this child is already passed that). They would reduce assistance. Wasn't one of the Republican's complaints about Obama that he put the needs of people in foreign countries ahead of US citizens? Apparently the current President didn't get the memo.
The President proves in an interview that he doesn't know anything about health insurance by saying when you are young and putting $12 a year into insurance that by the time you're 70 you'll have a nice plan. Sounds great, where do I sign up? The problem with this idea is that he has confused health insurance with a retirement account and that is not how insurance works. But the price tag is amazing, even if he meant $12 per month it would be a bargain. The average American is paying close to 20 times that amount per month plus co-pays for office visits and drugs and these plans are bankrupting America. I have no idea what the President was thinking on this one, but he is clearly wrong.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
While I find it humorous that the Republicans can't come up with a replacement to Obamacare (they had 7 years to come up with a plan). I find it more amazing that they can't get the votes for repeal either (the House voted 62 times to repeal and the Senate said if they had the majority it would be repealed). Then the President blames the Democrats. No Mr. President you are responsible for this, the Democrats are powerless to stop what you want. You lost the support of Republican who believed you when you said that you would repeal Obamacare and replace it with something that give all Americans affordable access to healthcare. Sadly the House and Senate bills would not provide affordable access to healthcare for all Americans. The bills before Congress were going to leave millions without insurance and millions more priced out of the market and still millions who would be denied coverage. As one analyst said the only people this plan would work for is a 27 year old male, with a good income, and no health problems. It only works until they sick and dropped from their insurance or go bankrupt because they bought the cheap no coverage plan.