To The Daily Sun:
On Friday, Sept. 20, the House of Representatives (for the 42nd time!) passed a bill to negate ObamaCare. In his victory strut, Speaker John Boehner said, "(the American people) don't want ObamaCare."
C'mon. What do the American people know about ObamaCare? The "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" runs 2,400 pages with 450,000 words, the equivalent of about five novels. People with jobs and families have neither the time to read it nor the background to understand it without help.
Those with the wherewithal to explain it objectively show little interest in doing so. Supporters and opponents consistently lie to pursue political agenda and personal advantage.
Some deliberately mislead and manipulate. Sadly, too many are lazy ignoramuses quoting each another.
Mainstream media are little help. They tell us who said what, but leave us to divine the truth. They call he-said-she-said reporting objectivity. Contemporary journalism acts as if Thomas Jefferson's famous defense of a free press — "a well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy" — is not a call to truth, but a call to transcription.
Some lies are so incredible they make Saturday Night Live, Colbert and The Onion look scholarly. Yet, educated, apparently sophisticated people pick up and pass on the nonsense. Some make TV commercials out of absurdities. Others write about them and credentialed pols and pundits go on national talk shows to give the crap legitimacy. (You would think lightning would strike a live broadcast every now and then.)
The most absurd was probably the warning government is setting up death panels to decide when you are too expensive to live. That idiocy seems to have ebbed, but new contenders for "most absurd" continuously arise. Here are four of the more recent:
— If you seek a financial subsidy, claim any income you want. No one will ever try to verify it.
— Medical practitioners will be implanting microchips to monitor you.
— The government will inspect your home by force if you receive services at home.
— Members of Congress are ObamaCare exempt.
Most of the untruth, however, is more complex and subtle. It usually addresses one of three general areas: employment, cost or medical decision.
Here are two examples (one from the pro side, one from the con side) of how zealous partisans mislead us with sophomoric assessment, faulty logic and cherry-picked facts.
From the pro side:
"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."
While the law will not force consumers to pick new plans or care providers, no one can make this blanket promise. Just one simple reality — not all physicians are in all plans — belies both parts of the statement in multiple ways:
— Before ObamaCare, employers routinely changed plans when it suited them. They will continue to do so under ObamaCare.
— People who change jobs may find their care provider is not in the new employer's insurance plan.
— Employees without access to employer-provided insurance will seek coverage on the exchanges.
— Employers too can choose to buy insurance on the exchanges.—- Some employers have already announced they will no longer provide insurance to certain classifications of employees (part time, for instance) and will instead provide a stipend for employees to seek coverage on the exchanges.
From the con side:
"The law is a job killer."
Because most economists think the impact on labor will be nominal, there is not much objective analysis available. The little analysis that exists supports the economists.
This claim originates from a distortion (or failure to understand) a 2010 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report. It said the law would affect labor numbers because some workers will choose to work less for two reasons:
— Some would work less if offered stipends to buy insurance on the exchanges.
— Older workers might retire earlier with assurance they could buy insurance on their own.
The CBO report said this would decrease labor in the economy by one-half of 1 percent. Although the budget office was saying people would be unwilling to work as much, the anti-ObamaCare forces presented it as business unwilling to employ as much.
In fairness, however, CBO also said requirements employers provide insurance or pay a fine "will probably cause some employers to respond by hiring fewer low-wage workers." The budget office also said it expects employers to offset some of this loss by hiring more part-time and seasonal workers. To date, CBO has not provided the numbers (anticipated new hires) to allow objective observers to postulate the overall effect of the provide-or-pay provision.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 September 2013 08:32
To The Daily Sun,
As a recipient of a draft card under the old draft system (I enlisted anyway), if you had asked me then or even 10 years ago, I would have strongly opposed a military draft. Now, however, I am seriously reconsidering my position.
I cannot help but wonder if we did have conscription again, would we be so eager to go to war except when it was absolutely necessary? Of course, such a draft would have to be fair, much more so than the Vietnam era draft which favored the sons of the rich and influential. A new draft would have to include the sons — and daughters — of the powerful and politically-connected. That includes every member of Congress's kids as well as the Obama girls.
While our servicemen and women are certainly brave and patriotic, there is already a sort of "economic" draft where many middle and working-class young people join the military for either a job or educational benefits. The top echelons of American society do not have to put their lives on the line to get a job or an education.
Most people like to remember the Vietnam-Era "draft dodgers" who burned their draft cards and fled to Canada but the old draft allowed a lot of people to LEGALLY avoid going to Vietnam. If you could afford to stay in college and keep a C- average, you could defer service. Or, if you could afford a private physician or psychiatrist to overrule the induction center medical staff, you could get out of serving.
Then, there was the National Guard. Unlike the present, when the National Guard is regularly deployed and bravely serves in combat, during the Vietnam War, everyone knew that serving in the Guard was a way to avoid service in Vietnam, drink beer all weekend, and still allow one to claim he had "served." Very few National Guard units were sent to Vietnam.
As a result, there were long waiting lists to get into the Guard. But, if you had strong political connections, you could "jump the line" and get into the National Guard and still get your "military ticket punched" so you could tell your campaign supporters that you served your country. Included among these was George W. Bush, who did not even make all of his required drills. Then there was former Vice-President Dan Quayle who was a "hawk" in 1968, publicly saying on college campuses that we should "kick butt" in Vietnam. Quayle's dad, however, was a good friend (and perhaps business associate) of the general commanding the Indiana National Guard. Guess what happened?
A renewed draft would have to be fair. Of course there should be exemptions of conscientious objectors and those with medical disqualifications. But students should not be exempt. Let them finish the semester and then get inducted.
Of course, I do not want our young men and women to go to war at all. Perhaps we would go to war a lot less if everyone was equally vulnerable to such decisions. Young people themselves would not be so apathetic and oblivious to U.S. foreign policy decisions.
An even better idea would be to require every young man and woman to perform a couple of years of SOME sort of national service after high school. A number of countries do that already. Perhaps it would not have to be military service in peacetime. Perhaps it could be some other sort of community service where young people learn teamwork, duty, selflessness, and responsibility.
E. Scott Cracraft
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 11:54
To The Daily Sun,
I wrote a letter about the "Common Core" curriculum which was printed in The Sun back on August 2nd. I spent a great deal of time researching this subject for the letter and included a variety of sources to validate my claim that it appeared to be "a totalitarian takeover of our educational system". I was accused by some of my liberal acquaintances of engaging in hyperbole. Though not from any letters to The Sun.
Well, how many of you have seen the video of the Howard County, Maryland parent who was bullied by the security guard (an off duty Baltimore County police officer) at a Towson public school meeting? Robert Small had the temerity to challenge the way the question and answer session was going on the subject of "Common Core". All questions were supposed to be written and approved ahead of time, ostensibly so that more questions could be answered. When the questions really were not getting to the heart of the "Common Core" philosophy, Robert tried to ask an important question in that regard since this program would be affecting his children for years to come.
Outrageously, he was booted out of the hearing by the security guard who seemed to be looking for a confrontation. Robert was formally charged with assault though the charges were later dropped. All the other parents sat quietly as Robert was forced out of the room. Pat Caddell wonders just when did citizens become slaves to office holders? Those would be the ones who pay the educators and bureaucrats' salaries. Deneen Borelli noted that the "you better be quiet" message was delivered loud and clear. Yes indeed, you better sit down and shut up because the nanny state is taking over control of your children's education. Hyperbole you say? Well let's just keep our eyes and ears open shall we?
Later in my August 2nd letter I stated my opinion about what seems to be behind the "Common Core" agenda, rather than the cleverly worded goals of helping our children: "since this is a 'the end justifies the means' social Utopian ideal, it is perfectly okay to coerce teachers while keeping them in the dark, dumb down students using a one size fits all plan and treat parents like dumb and dumber. After all, it is 'the collective' that must bring up our children properly rather than their own parents".
This looks to me like exhibit A of what I feared in my previous letter. This incident would appear to be another nudge, or in this case push, toward a dictatorial state of soft tyranny. Are we really inching toward becoming the "United Socialist States of America? While more countries in Europe have been declaring the "welfare state" dead due to unsustainability, this country continues its mind numbing march toward the welfare state. By that I mean, the government takeover of our educational system and the government takeover of our health care system. If we are not all reading, listening, absorbing and responding to what is happening to our republic, then we definitely are not paying attention. Be very afraid and speak out, or remain ignorant and acquiesce to the collective mindset.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 11:49
To The Daily Sun,
Three years ago — September 24, 2010 — in the early morning hours my daughter, Alexandra Engler, was in her kitchen in Baton Rouge making coffee, and studying before getting her daughter up, taking her to school then going to work. A man broke into her home, put a bullet in her head — execution style, then emptied his gun into my 9-year-old granddaughter, Ariana, leaving her for dead. The obituary in local papers passed unnoticed except for folks who are acquainted with me.
This was a horrific crime — even for Baton Rouge which has one of the highest per capita crime rates in the country. While it doesn't command national attention compared to the Aurora theater massacre, the Newtown school tragedy and now the shooting rampage in our nation's capital, it isn't just one more byline to me. And I ask your readers, shouldn't this mean something to you too? Where is this country on gun control? Don't start groaning that I'm some liberal nut. My husband is a member of the NRA and the Pemi Fish & Game Club. He and many other acquaintances are responsible gun owners, and to jump to a conclusion that the right to bear arms will be trampled is a far cry from requiring background checks for those who purchase firearms. Would a background check have saved my daughter's life? I don't know the answer, but it might someday save someone's life, and that's worth it to me!
I applaud Senator Shaheen for her support last April for the Manchin-Toomey proposal — a measure for additional background checks through gun-dealers and gun shows, and I wrote Senator Ayotte expressing my disappointment for her lack of support.
For my part, in honor of the memory of my daughter, I must speak my mind today because if just one life is spared, I will have helped with positive change, and my beautiful daughter's brutal, senseless murder will not have been in vain.
Bonnie M. Hunt
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 11:44
To The Daily Sun,
I would like to welcome The Sun readers to another edition of Tea Party Potty Tricks. In the news recently are the four Colorado Congressman who after voting against Sandy relief begged for emergency relief after the floods devastating Colorado. Huh?
Not missing a step, and as making a documentary about sociopaths, the House voted to increase hardship and food insecurity in America by cutting food stamps for 22,000,000 children in 2014. Ten million of those kids live in deep poverty. Showing the compassionate side of the tea party, ONLY 9,000,000 who are elderly or have a serious disability will be effected. And if that isn't patriotic enough for you, ONLY 170,000 of our veterans that laid their lives on the line will also be hit and made even MORE vulnerable. (http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=3899) Being so both empathetic and fiscally responsible, the $39 BILLION cut over 10 years will help pay the $40 BILLION that we will pay Big Oil in subsidies in the same period. The Devil and His Angels are now in conference trying to figure out a way to more easily pay the $50 BILLION we subsidize the corn industry within the same period. Cuts to WIC (Women with Infant Children), and TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) look like an easy kill. Anonymous sources inside Hades' pro-hunger "We Love Corpses" camp say infrastructure funds look appetizing because, "hey, East Germany was kind of quaint".
Transcending his new glory as the most ridiculous person in Washington, DC, Ted Cruz is now being piled on by Republicans who seem to have gotten the message that he is truly the heir apparent to Miss Tin-Foil Hat USA, Michelle Bachmann. GQ's Mr Buffoon USA and Sarah Palin are now joined at the hip, yet John McCain, who gave us Miss Death Panel USA, "(expletive) hates him" say sources inside the McCain camp. Its the maverick, right? According to N.Y.'s Peter King, Cruz is a fraud. Ya think?
The U.S. House decided that insuring 17,000,000 children with pre-existing conditions is bad for America and voted for the 40th time to repeal ObamaCARE. It is estimated that each vote costs $1,000,000. Although ObamaCARE got its ideas from the Heritage Foundation and RomneyCARE, that doesn't matter because "we hate Obama". Up to 120,000,000 adults have pre-existing conditions but golly, isn't that what emergency rooms are for? Heck, we're pro-life.
Topping the "Is He On Crack?" Charts this week is Wayne Lappierre of the NRA, who told us that the Naval Yard slaughter happened because there just wasn't "enough good guys with guns". This week's Alexander Hamilton Award goes to the dueling team of Robert Taylor and James Pullum, who pulled into a parking lot in Michigan, neither knowing the other was armed, who then shot each other dead. Rumor has it these were two law abiding citizens previous to the now famous duel. Its not every day that two good guys with guns actually stop two bad guys with guns. Wayne Lapierre must be gushing.
On social issues, there is great disappointment in the Keep Women Barefoot camp. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals smacked down a lawsuit against the contraception mandate in ObamaCARE. A conservative appointed by George Bush, Justice Julia Smith Gibbon, wrote in her holding, "We dismiss the claims of the individual plaintiffs on standing grounds". But worry not folks, it seems that Catholic hospitals are claiming religious liberty protects them from unionization.
On the Big-Religion front it seems that the Catholic Church now have a very gracious and thoughtful Pope that is way left of the U.S. House of Representatives. In a total turn-around from the crusty rhetoric of the last two, the new Pope chastised Catholic leaders for being obsessed with abortion, gays, and contraception and slammed the cuts in food stamps. The audacity! He must be a commie!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 11:36