Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
So I'm not as discouraged as I was after hearing the House bill. After hearing the House bill I was disheartened and as I'm sure you noticed had stopped blogging about health care in general but now I'm back on board the train and stoking the fire with emails to all the hold-out Senators. They need to know that this bill AT LEAST deserves to be debated on the floor and then voted upon. Some of these Senators like Mary Landrieu and Joe Lieberman don't seem to want it to even be debated and voted upon on the Senate floor!! How is that democratic??? Urge them to at least vote to bring it to the Senate floor. If, however, it doesn't have a public option then I'm not for the bill.
Friday, November 13, 2009
TPJ: I think this law is quite fair. It maintains a religions right to not marry gays but does allow the secular government to enforce basic worker rights. Getting along in this society is about making compromises and choosing your battles. Would Jesus threaten to not administer to the poor, hungry and sick because he disagreed with gays being married? Really??? This was an enlightened being who forgave the barbaric and corrupt Roman government for torturing and killing him!! And we can't handle living amongst gay married couples??? I'm not trying to pick a fight, be flip or intentionally insulting but I think that Jesus wouldn't refuse the poor because of disagreeing with gay people. Jesus administered to the adulterous women for free despite obviously being against adultery!! I just think it's a bit harsh for an organization that follows Christ to deny the needy services because of a disagreement with the law. The needy are innocent bystanders -- why punish them? Wouldn't it be better for everyone if Catholics tried to change the law instead of use people in the middle as pawns? Especially when those people have so few choices?
I guess that "turning the other cheek" teaching and "Love thy neighbor as thyself" was expunged from the Bible in the 7 years since I left Christianity. Come on Catholics, stop being so childish. We all have to make sacrifices to live in a civil, diverse society. I don't like that religious organizations don't have to pay taxes or that some religions don't let women have authority but I'm not going to try to outlaw religion. We all know that many religions find homosexuality a sin -- we got it. We know where you stand. You have a right not marry gays in your religion but be careful how far you push political issues unless you want your tax exempt status revoked.
I will always fight for gay rights but I will also always fight to protect your right to decide who you marry or don't marry within the confines of your church, temple or synagogue. However, you can't have it all. If we are going to defend your rights then you need to recognize others' rights. Obeying a law, which says that you have to provide benefits to gay workers is no different than the laws that say you have to provide black workers benefits. There was a time in this country and world when religions got away with denying basic, working benefits and rights to those of a different skin color than white.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The nation's largest physicians organization, with about 250,000 member doctors, the AMA has maintained since 1997 that marijuana should remain a Schedule I controlled substance, the most restrictive category, which also includes heroin and LSD. Since California voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 1996, marijuana has moved steadily into the cultural mainstream spurred by the growing awareness that it can have beneficial effects for some chronically ill people.
This year, the Obama administration sped up that drift when it ordered federal narcotics agents not to arrest medical marijuana users and providers who follow state laws. Polls show broadening support for marijuana legalization. The AMA, however, also adopted as part of its new policy a sentence that admonishes: "This should not be viewed as an endorsement of state-based medical cannabis programs, the legalization of marijuana, or that scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis meets the current standards for a prescription drug product."
Nevertheless, marijuana advocates welcomed the development. "They're clearly taking an open-minded stance and acknowledging that the evidence warrants a review. That is very big," said Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project. "It's not surprising that they are moving cautiously and one step at a time, but this is still a very significant change."
James: If the American Medical Association is now for reclassifying marijuana to allow for medicinal benefits then how can any average citizen not be for it? Unless you're against it on purely moral reasons but then don't you have to fight to make porn, stripping and gambling illegal and alcohol illegal again? Anyway, it's about time that marijuana be taken out of the same category as heroin and PCP. Schedule I is reserved for the most dangerous drugs. Marijuana, one of the most dangerous drugs??? Bullshit. To show how ridiculous this is; cocaine, crack and opium are in a lower (thus seen as less dangerous) schedule classification of drugs than marijuana!! That's absurd. Marijuana needs to be further studied to see what other health benefits the drug may hold. For example, nothing has been done in regards to how marijuana helps those with mental health difficulties such as chronic and suicidal depression. I can personally attest to it being very, very effective in that regard.
There is nothing out there right now that can be as fast acting for situational, suicidal depression than marijuana. There are a lot of tranquilizers that dissolve under the tongue for fast acting anxiety relief but not for depression. I take my anti-depressants in the morning and they have to sustain me all day and night. If I'm in a suicidally depressed state of mind and smoke some marijuana it lifts me out of that dangerous and dark place immediately. Minutes later I'm calm, happy, smiling and emotionally stable. It also eases the chronic aches and pains that radiate throughout my body due to fibromyalgia that is associated with the schizoaffective disorder. Mental pain isn't the only pain associated with mental illnesses -- it literally, physically HURTS. Especially depression, panic attacks and Anyone who is against medical marijuana at this point is dangerously uninformed, lacking in compassion or holding everyone to their personal religious choices. I don't tell you how to worship so don't tell me what medicines help me most.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Journalist Cynthia Tucker from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution had this to say about it while on the political commentary show, "Hardball with Chris Matthews:
Quite frankly I think that the majority of the members of Congress in the House and in the Senate want to do just one thing -- preserve the status quo. The Hyde Amendment, which says no tax payer money may be used to fund abortion. And I think most of the 64 people who voted for the Stupak amendment thought they were doing that but it goes much farther than that. The Stupak Amendment says that private insurers may not sell policies that give full reproductive rights coverage, in the exchange (James: The public option insurance exchange that is in the legislation headed to the Senate to be voted upon). So even if I can afford my own insurance, if I'm not getting a government subsidy at all -- I can not buy on that exchange.James: Put another way:
"Simply put, the Stupak/Pitts amendment would restrict women's access to abortion coverage in the private health insurance market, undermining the ability of women to purchase private health plans that cover abortion, even if they pay for most of the premiums with their own money," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, a group which is outraged over the inclusion of the amendment in the reform bill.This bill prevents federal funds from going to fund abortions directly; (which I support). However, It also prevents women from using their own money if they want to get an abortion at say Planned Parenthood while using the public option for general health care!! That goes too far and is yet another reason to vote against the bill if it stays in its current form.
Monday, November 09, 2009
TPJ: I was for the stimulus but not for the lack of regulation they dropped from the bill. Is it any wonder then that the funds are being abused? Any idiot could see that without stiff regulations the stimulus money would be abused. I think the power brokers in America (Republicans AND Democrats) and most corporations are more than willing to sell off larger and larger chunks of the American economy until we collapse. As long as they get the money from the deals they'll just move to some ascending country once they've finished destroying America. I feel so helpless. It seems like in every area of measure, America is in danger of totally collapsing. We're fighting two wars, unemployment is at 10.2% because we don't manufacture anything here anymore, rising health care costs are bankrupting the middle-class, the dollar is falling in value, we're in debt up to our eyeballs and our entire political system is corrupted and rotten to the core. Is the American experiment a failure? It seems inevitable if we keep cannibalizing ourselves.
---End of Transmission---
Thursday, November 05, 2009
James: If judges, lawyers, police, prosecutors, DEA agents, FBI agents and prison wardens are all speaking out against the War on Drugs and in particular the War on Pot then who can still be for it??? It's ridiculous that you can drive a 2 ton truck at 75 miles an hour down the road, laden with gallons upon gallons of highly flammable gasoline that can kill multiple people if there's an accident. And yet, you still can't smoke a joint in the privacy or your own home that affects no one??? WTF.
And spare me the "morals" or "religious" argument because being against legalizing pot for "religious reasons" is no reason at all. Because we live in a free society. I'm a vegetarian but I wouldn't push to make eating meat illegal--even it if I considered it murder. We don't tell beer drinkers that they can't drink just because some religion/religious person disagrees with drinking do we? Of course not because we tried prohibition of alcohol and it failed nearly as miserably as the prohibition of pot has.
Why keep throwing money down a black hole of failure when we could be taxing it and helping the economy? As well as being able to free up our prisons for real criminals like rapists and child molesters who hardly get any jail time because the penitentiaries are over-crowed with non-violent drug offenders. You may not smoke pot, you make not like pot, you may not like people who do smoke pot or you may not approve of pot in general. However, you shouldn't be able to tell someone else that they can't smoke it or vape it in the privacy of their own home. At least you shouldn't be able to in a country that claims to be the, "Home of the Free."
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
By Thom Hartmann
Republicans are using the T-word -- taxes -- to attack the Obama health care program. It's a strategy based in a lie. A very small niche of America's uber-wealthy have pulled off what may well be the biggest con job in the history of our republic, and they did it in a startlingly brief 30 or so years. True, they spent over three billion dollars to make it happen, but the reward to them was in the hundreds of billions -- and will continue to be.
If a person earns so much money that he doesn't or can't spend it all each year, then when his taxes go down your income after taxes goes up. This is largely because there's little to no relationship between what he "needs to live on" and what he's "earning." Somebody living on a million dollars a year but earning five million after taxes, can sock away four million in a Swiss bank. If his taxes go up enough to drop his after-tax income to only three million a year, he's still living on a million a year, and only socks away two million in the Swiss bank. His "disposable" income goes down when his taxes go up, and vice-versa. (Technically, the word is "discretionary" income for after-tax, after-living-expenses income, but "disposable" income has become so widely used as a phrase to describe discretionary income I'll use it here.)
The Rich Person's Tax Effect is the one that virtually all Americans understand -- and, oddly, most working class people think applies to them, too (this is the truly amazing part of the con job referred to earlier).
But it doesn't.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
The latest look at the public option comes from the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan economic analysts for lawmakers. It found that the scaled back government plan in the House bill wouldn't overtake private health insurance. To the contrary, it might help the insurers a little. To be fair, most people would not have access to the new public plan. Under the House bill, it would be offered through new insurance exchanges open only to those who buy coverage on their own or work for small companies. Yet even within that pool of 30 million people, only 1-in-5 would take the public option.
TPJ: I have a hard enough time dealing with the mood swings from my Bipolar disorder. The swings in emotion I have toward the public option are only adding to my mental exhaustion. One day I'm in full support of the public option and the next day I think it isn't strong, robust or universal enough. Initially I came out in support of the latest version that has come out of the House despite it being somewhat watered down. I thought it was better than nothing and a decent starting point to add to later on. Now, hearing it will only cover 2% I'm leaning back toward it being worse than better and in favor of voting against it. A small pool of sick, elderly and dying people would likely make up most of the people using the public option, which would make it harder to negotiate cheaper prices and keep premiums down. I really don't understand how increasing the number of people who can buy into the public option would cost more because it seems that the larger pool of people should help defray a lot of the costs.
So considering all of this I am at a point where I think perhaps it is better to pull the plug on the public option than risk a weak plan being passed only to fail. Thus giving critics of universal health care ammunition against trying again in the near future. I'm all for health care reform but I'd rather see nothing than something that goes in the wrong direction and ends up helping the insurance industry more than the people. So I'm leaning now toward lobbying the liberals in both houses of Congress to vote against this weak bill if it remains in its present form. It makes me sad to say this but I'm with Rep. Kucinich that this bill is far from the best that we can do.
In fact it's not even adequate. It represents a failure of leadership and courage. As well as a total disregard for their main function and duty as leaders -- represent the people first before you concern yourself with re-election. The thirst for power for nothing more than for powers sake is a perversion of the role of public service. If they can't put the health care of America ahead of their personal ambitions then they should be tossed from Congress. Republican OR Democrat.