20 September 2012

The New Civil War: Religion in America

Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 11:42pm
K wrote:

I just have to ask this since I saw it on yours and J's pages because I just can't stop thinking about it. Why do you support the Romney/Ryan ticket?

Have you read Path to Prosperity? It's brutal on the poor and disabled - cuts to Medicaid amount to a third of the program, $750B, over ten years. All that money is used to pay for increased funding to the military budget. It's pretty sick.

And Mitt, he can talk about jobs and fixing the economy until he's blue - this guy has an elevator for his cars. He has an elevator for his cars. That's out of touch, isn't it?

I'd really like to hear your reasoning for liking a guy like P Ryan if you were willing to share. Ryan is a classic example of a career politician who's grown very wealthy at it over the last 14 years. You could say he's found a niche. And in all of his big talk about fiscal conservatism he never once stops to suggest a cut to his own salary or his benefits package - not that any politicians do - but they're not all preaching cuts like he is - cuts that will hurt the people who need the most help.

I noticed that you wrote that people who vote for Obama are morons. Why do you think that?

If you don't want to discuss it, just let me know. And I won't bring it up again. Promise.

Otherwise, I hope all is well. I think about you guys all the time and wish we could get the whole family together once in a while. I also think we should all be able to talk these issues or just agree not to talk about it so we can at least see each other. We're family for goodness sake.

Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 6:24am
D wrote:

What's happening Cuz? Thank you for the note. I really do think about you and your family all the time as well and I really do want to get together! Its ridiculous to let this much time go by and not spend some of it together.

On my political comment, I don't think liking or even voting for Barack is moronic. Worshipping him and the party is. Some people can't even admit that he isn't really changing anything. I have some strong feelings about Obamacare and Barack's view of taxing the rich even more before balancing the budget now. As far as my vote for Mitt and Paul, I want free trade, lower income taxes (or at least no increases), I work hard for the right to choose which doctor I'd like to see and I think its simply wrong to take that away from the middle class. Free health care WILL take that away from the middle class.

Lastly, I fully believe that I can choose and DO choose to give money and support to the poor much more effectively than our government ever could. Barack asks us to put our faith in the government and to trust them to take more of our money and to give it to the people who need it most. I'm sorry but I just don't trust "them" that much. I don't like to discuss my giving, but I give quite a bit of money to my church and I serve my community with my time. My church is awesome and i DO trust them to use this money to serve others and i have physical evidence that it does! That is how I believe charity is supposed to work...not by increasing taxes and trusting gov folks to do the job and not to waste much of it.

Love you a lot K and I hope we can keep talking and get our whole family together soon...how about Christmas??? Thanksgiving?

Friday, September 7, 2012 at 12:48am
K wrote:

Yeah, you know we're busy here with three little boys. But they're good kids and J's able to stay home with them. That's been effective in raising them. We've got to find a way to get together.

You know, I understand your sentiment. I think it's dangerous to become so utterly ingrained in an ideology that it becomes impossible to discern when something in that ideology is wrong or misleading.

In many ways, for progressives, Obama has been disappointing. For GW Bush fans, Obama has continued many of the same policies especially in foreign policy just with a little less bravado, so he ought to be looked upon as successful by Bush supporters.

And although some Dems, like B Sanders and the lady from Ohio, pushed to end the Bush tax cuts, Pres Obama did not push for that. Instead he sought compromise in order to pass health care reform that was in fact a Republican created reform package introduced in the 90s by the Heritage Foundation as a counter proposal to a single payer system that H Clinton was pushing for.

After that, then Gov. Romney went on to pass the same legislation in Massachusetts. Those are facts.

Overall that sounds like a pretty centrist president we've had in Obama.

Taxes are tough to talk about. No one wants to pay more yet we have to if we want to pay off our debt. Cuts and taxes and tax reform are the only way to solve this massive debt problem initiated by the Republicans and continued by the current administration. The Romney/Ryan ticket offers no solution, by the way, just more debt.

During WWII, there were all kinds of posters about how Americans needed to share in the sacrifice. For the next 30 years the upper class paid 60, 70% in taxes. And the country grew. Millionaires still became multimillionaires and there was still inequality - H Humphrey railed against it - but it was nothing like we've seen over the last 40 years. Reagan cut taxes then raised them. GW cut taxes and we fell into a great recession. Now Romney/Ryan want to cut taxes and Medicaid funding. Then in order to "incentivize" Medicare, they'll introduce a "premium support" plan. In other words they'll turn Medicare into a voucher program.

They want to increase funding to the war machine while decreasing funding to education. They want to privatize just about everything. It's devoted sickness. As Emerson once wrote, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

AS it is right now your insurance company and your employer dictate who your doctor is and can be. A friend and colleague of mine has been seeing a doctor for years but our employer provided insurance doesn't cover 1 iota of his bills because his dr is out of the plan.

Another colleague busted his knee up playing soccer. However we were in the process of changing insurers. Our new insurance treated his busted knee as a preexisting condition and wasn't going to cover any of it. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, our insurers had no choice. He had surgery earlier this year to repair MCL and ACL tears.

There are plenty of beneficial aspects of the ACA (there is no such thing as Obamacare and it makes no sense to call it that). Prior to the passage of the ACA, pregnancy was considered a pre-existing condition - good luck trying to get insurance. That's not true today.

While the ACA is not perfect, it does enforce an insurance company to spend 85% of premiums collected on health care. Our mechanic, who owns his own business, employs about ten people, received a $5000 refund from UHC as a direct result of the ACA legislation.

I don't think the ACA dictates which doctor you can see. Your insurance company does that. The idea that the ACA tells you which doctor to see is simple, basic fear mongering from the right.

I understand that you don't trust the government. But then I ask you, do you trust corporations more?

The government may be a "necessary evil" but it is one that was created not to turn a profit but for the welfare of the people, by the people. Corporations and businesses are created to earn money. That's it. The corporate Bottom Line is profit. The government's bottom line is the welfare of its people.

Of course it's fantastic that you donate your time and money when you can. It's rewarding, benevolent, and contributes to a just society in which we are all partners. It is a noble endeavor to try to provide for the less fortunate. But there are anywhere between 17 and 30 million people in this country who are short of food. You can't help them all. But our government can reach them. What we need is funding. Funding for non-profits like the Hunger Task Force that delivers food to folks who can't pick it up, like meals on wheels that delivers food to elderly across the country. While I admire your commitment, we need more. And in the time when we need more, Mitt Romney built an elevator for his cars. Paul Ryan became a millionaire and the Republicans have fought against any tax increases and all issues of equality - most recently for immigrants and gays and lesbians.

Unfortunately there aren't enough people like you. Surprisingly as people get more, avarice disables charity. That's evident in the startling disparity we are witnessing in this country today.

You mentioned freedom. Romney/Ryan don't want you to have freedom unless it follows their mandates. If you happen to be in love with a man and in a committed relationship, they won't let you marry. So when you get sick, your partner has no legal right to visitation. No legal right to inquire about your health without your consent. And if you're in a comma, well your partner is SOL. And you cannot receive a marriage tax break. That's not freedom, that's oppression.

Ron Paul at least is consistent. He doesn't want nationalized health care and wants to legalize just about everything. He'd get my vote before Romney and Ryan would.

There's a lot of information out there to read through. It's senseless to listen to talking heads because we all just get caught up in the same minutiae and indoctrination. But if you read through the literature and proposals carefully you can make up your own mind.

Now I've totally glossed over all of the disappointments of the last 4 years and the worries I have for the next 4 because I've already written an essay. But I think I've tried to make a case why the Romney/Ryan ticket would be bad for the country.

My two main points (and this is just for starter) about Romney and Ryan:
1) They want to repeal the ACA and replace it but they have nothing to replace it with. So we'll return to what there was before if Republicans can get enough seats in the House and Senate as well as the presidency. Above, I've tried to show 3 ways the ACA helps the average American.

2) They want to cut Medicaid and SNAP in order to fund increased military spending over the already largest budget for a standing military in the history of humankind because they are driven by fear. Fear of Iran, Russia, China, N Korea, Terrorist, Socialists, gays, abortionist, sexuality, women, and so on.

To summarize, the Romney/Ryan ticket want to fund more wars while cutting programs for the poor so the poor will eventually enlist and be shipped off to the fight in some god forsaken war. That's not just scare tactics. That's their future vision. And it's a bit sick. And maybe just a tad moronic.

One last note: After the conventions, and all the talk about the charity that Romney has provided, and the good works the Ryan has completed, they remind me of the guy who prays in public for everyone to hear. I think that guy was referred to as a hypocrite.

That's just what I think.

Friday, September 7, 2012 at 4:26pm
D wrote:

Thanks for the reply cuz. I can't address every issue or even respond to every one in just one reply email, but I'm happy to share what I can in this one.

The ACA was passed by a Democratic Senate and Democratic House, and it wasn't passed easily. I forget how many thousands of pages it really is but it took months of hand wringing, bargaining, coercing, and bribing to get enough Dems to agree. Did you know Senator Bob Nelson (I believe) was promised 100 million dollars for a new hospital in his state, in exchange for his vote? there are many more stories like this. And did you know, not one congressmen who voted for it will ever have to abide by its limited benefits? and did you know that MANY unions and large corporations have been "determined" to be exempt from the ACA? Why? Because the government is full of hypocrits and the ACA entertwined with amnesty for illegal immigrants is a much easier way to buy votes. I hate to be so blunt, but the practical effect of this enormous expenditure is compelling. I am sincerely happy for your friend, but I have to believe he could have found a doctor in his covered plan and under the covered policy to perform this surgery, maybe not the best doc, but a covered one. The ACA is detrimental to the healthcare industry. It is an industry because good doctors want to be paid more and the demand exists. Do you really believe a good doctor is going to work just as hard to diagnose and treat you when his paycheck is cut in half and hours are doubled? Extreme example, but my point is, no he is going to go where the money is. There will always be a separate tier of good doctors making great money, but the ACA is going to make it MUCH more expensive for your and I, to be treated by one.

I don't believe Ryan is getting rid of Medicare, just paying for it differently. Obama wants to protect his own set of special interests because that's what he believes in and who helped get him elected. I actually want to see a version of the ACA, maybe two or three versions of it, in the U.S. But for the taxpaying American citizen, we should be funding our tier of ACA and there should be some benefit to becoming an American citizen and to get a job, earn a paycheck and pay income taxes. Just giving the ACA to anyone who crosses our borders is completely unsustainable.

On the homosexual issue, I am ordered by the God Almighty, whom I love and serve to love others, regardless of their sexual orientation, and I really try to. I think they should be treated with kindness and respect and that as a Christian, they should look at me and say wow, he doesn't hate me. But when marriage is no longer about a man and woman and two gay people can just decide that they are together and deserve those benefits, what is point of even having a marriage tax deduction or a marriage license? Its all void/moot. If marriage can be between two people of any sex, then it is a novel and antiquated institution of the past. I just disagree that it is. The Bible sets out some real serious rules for marriage and this country was founded upon it. That is why its important to me.

Sorry, I have to run but I am really grateful for the opportunity to talk about some important issues with you cuz. Let's get the fam back together and catch up on each other's lives. Miss you, your brothers, parents and the rest of our family very much. Would absolutely love to get some family time scheduled soon.

Friday, September 7, 2012 at 12:48am
K wrote:
The ACA was passed after some real compromises were made by some Democrats who wanted to pass a single payer option. Republicans made no concessions and after over a year of finagling, including passing the Bush tax cuts for the rich, the Democrats forced the vote.

I won't argue that Democrats aren't corrupt. In essence the entire system is hosed up. At this point it's endemic. But Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are symbolic of some of the worst problems and practices in our capitalist society. Romney got rich by basically screwing people. And paying 13% or less in taxes. That's probably less than you and he makes a crap load more than you. Obama got rich by signing a book deal, and selling three books that were each on the NY Times best seller list. Ryan inherited a lot of money from his wife's family. Again, I'm not a defender of Obama. But a centrist is better for the US than an extremist from the right.

The ACA may not be the fix we need but it's a start. It won't control health costs so your docs can still make a ton of money prescribing tests that we don't really need. And pharmaceuticals can steal our cash for drugs we don't really need. That's not changing anytime soon. AS for insurance companies, there's no need to worry about them, they've just picked up an additional 40 million policies. I doubt they are feeling any pain. That's the point of the individual mandate.

The leaders of the big six insurers are raking in millions of bucks a year (see http://sickforprofit.com/ceos/). Drs make a-plenty, especially specialists. What we need more of are drs willing to take care of their patients. HMOs and Insurance plans mean drs are obligated to see more patients for less time. That means less thorough examinations and more reliance on pill popping.

Our family doc used to practice on her own. Our appts were always 45 minutes long. Then she joined an HMO. We're lucky if we get to see her for 15 minutes. Insurance co's rule the roost right now. The ACA is an attempt to right the ship. Any dr who practices without the ropes of insurance companies will be able to spend more time with his/her patients and hopefully provide better care - at least more comprehensive care.

Paying taxes is part of our civil duty. The Constitution gives the federal government the ability to wage taxes. Even our founding fathers would argue that a progressive tax is the most appropriate and effective. For much of the boom after WWII, tax rates for the top earners was two to three times higher than it is today. The middle class grew. The country saw unprecedented growth. There's no doubt in my mind that capitalism is the best system for cooperative growth if the objective is for all of the people to better their way of living. IF the objective of a society is to satisfy the avarice of a few, then our system today is perfect and Mitt is our man.

But real growth is dependent on a prosperous and growing middle class. Over the last forty years, the US has been witness to the largest growth of inequality it has ever seen and the middle class is shrinking. It has got so terrible here that Norway and Sweden, two much more socialist countries, have greater social mobility than the US; that Canadians per capita earn more than Americans.

The US has become a plutocracy. It is a country run by the wealthy. We are paralyzed by the amount of propaganda money buys. Politicians are paralyzed by the amount of money in the system. To me, Romney's the epitome of this broken system. Granted Obama is not the anecdote - this administration has not become more transparent, still practices terrorism at home and abroad, and refuses to cut ties to its wealthy backers, but Romney may that much worse. Just think about the frightening rhetoric he spouted during the primary cycle. He's backed away from a lot of it now. Voters shouldn't let him get away with it. And he's a belligerent warmonger to boot.

If that ticket wins, the draconian cuts they've proposed to Medicaid will be devastating. Just check out Ryan's Path to Prosperity; it's a barn burner.

About marriage: How would you feel if you were totally committed to a woman and utterly in love with her but the law dictated that you could not marry her simply because she is a woman and you are a man? It's the same coin flipped. Why is god so uptight about two men or two women committing their lives to each other? What's god got against love?

The idea that one man and one woman is part of the definition of marriage is actually a relatively recent creation. Romney's ancestors were probably polygamists. And some Mormons still are. Don't forget that comes from biblical teaching. Solomon had a harem. Monogamy is a very recent invention, cuz.

It's interesting to me too that so many Republicans seem to be so filled with hate. They hate immigrants and minorities and gays and abortionists and pot smokers and peaceniks and Muslims and Sikhs, and yet they claim to be evangelicals. That's not the Jesus I remember reading about and studying. I think he'd probably be ashamed that they associate their beliefs with his. He hung out with the vagrants, the destitute, and the sick. Kind of like the people Lady Liberty used to welcome to our shores.

Remember the parable of the rich man and the eye of a needle. Romney fits that bill.


Ten key moments in the history of marriage 
By Lauren Everitt

Romney’s War Mongering Speech in Israel
The US can't afford Romney 
Ahmed Moor  

Greed and Debt: The True Story of Mitt Romney and Bain Capital
Matt Taibbi

Coontz, Stephanie. Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage

No comments:

Post a Comment