Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

What’s In A Name – Obamacare, Shutdown, Blackmail, Extortion.

Tom kind of stole my post with his excellent Whose Shutdown Is It Anyway. Here are two memorable quotes.

“John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, Fox “News”, and just about every Republican politician out there is trying to pin this shutdown on President Obama. This is due to the fact that Obama stubbornly refuses to accept a Republican-crafted budget that takes away the funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Obama and other Democrats worked for years to make the law of the land.”

“It’s OK to disagree about this. It’s OK to hold the opinion that Obamacare is a bad thing. But don’t shut down the government and then claim it was the other guys’ doing. Though we can continue to debate health care, out here in the world, the law has passed. We supposedly have majority rule in this country, and the majority want serious health-care reform, and the majority made Obamacare the law.“ 

imagesI really want to hear from a coherent, thinking Republican (and there are plenty around to be fair), how s/he can justify shutting down the government to object to a democratically passed law? And how can our representatives have the audacity to deny government workers a salary, but continue to pay themselves? Leading by example? I think not.

But there was one thing that stood out for me and, as I listened to various radio stations, read a couple of articles, it occurred to me, that the President and the Democratic Party have lost the war on language.

Look again at the two exerts above. One talks about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, while the other mentions Obamacare. One of the biggest mistakes this government made was to use and allow the use of the term Obamacare. I have yet to hear someone offer a coherent opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act without using the term Obamacare, and using it often. 

images-1It makes for a nice legacy and might flatter our leader, but democrats should refuse to use the word. Every time a Republican uses that term, they should stop him/her and ask that the correct term is used. It’s easy. Just ask what Obamacare is.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not defined as only for democrats. It is an essential tool to offer what is a basic human right: healthcare without personal bankruptcy. 

If we are going to discuss language, how about ditching the Government Shutdown – if this was a union, we would be calling it a strike. So the Republicans have gone on strike. Good luck dealing with labor disputes in the future!

And while we are at it, perhaps there are a few other words we might want to begin using to describe the shutdown: how about blackmail and extortion? Maybe callousness and immunity to suffering?

Not that I’m in favor of inflammatory rhetoric or imagery. Who had the audacity to design this? Thankfully, let it be said, many Republicans have come out against the comparisons of President Obama to Hitler. 

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Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of GalbriethThe First Decree, Ashbar – Wycaan Master Bk 3 – all released by Tourmaline Books. Shalev is also the author of three social justice-themed novels including Unwanted Heroes. He swears there is a connection. More at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter).

Whose Shutdown is it, Anyway? – Tom Rossi

The “debate” rages on. Are 1+1 really 2? Or are they 3? Is the Pope Catholic? Does a bear sh… Oh, forget it.

Here’s the “debate”: I want to cut off your legs with a chainsaw. What’s that? You don’t want to talk it over? You don’t want to sit down and negotiate? Hmmm… Well, let’s try something less extreme. I want you to give me 25% of your paycheck… every month. Whaaaaat? You don’t want to talk about that either??? Well, YOU are obviously the problem.

tom-toles-obamacare

John Boehner, Rush Limbaugh, Fox “News”, and just about every Republican politician out there is trying to pin this shutdown on President Obama. This is due to the fact that Obama stubbornly refuses to accept a Republican-crafted budget that takes away the funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which Obama and other Democrats worked for years to make the law of the land.

cryingboehner

The right-wing wants Obama to just turn around, let go of victory, and be defeated. And they want the same from the American people. Republicans (publicly, anyway) agree that health costs are out of control. But instead of making it cheaper for people, they want doctors and especially big medical businesses to be largely free from lawsuits, even when they do something terribly wrong.

Obamacare may only be a B- victory for the average citizen of the United States, but it’s all we’re going to get. We will not have “single payer” health care within the foreseeable future (unfortunately) so we have to hold on to our hard-won compromise like grim death.

obamacare card

It’s OK to disagree about this. It’s OK to hold the opinion that Obamacare is a bad thing. But don’t shut down the government and then claim it was the other guys’ doing. Though we can continue to debate health care, out here in the world, the law has passed. We supposedly have majority rule in this country, and the majority want serious health-care reform, and the majority made Obamacare the law.

Obamacare-face-full

As a nation, we badly need to grow up. Countries with nowhere near our natural resource base have thriving economies and universal health care. Obamacare is an imperfect compromise, but a reasonable one. Let’s get on with our lives… and our health.

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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A Prime Read!

Just so excited with the release of Ashbar Wycaan Master Bk. 3. Now available in ebook – http://tinyurl.com/nb5lzoz.

Elfwriter

“Hey Dad. Do we have Amazon Prime?”

“Sure son,” I reply.

“Great. We can get your ebooks for free .” He pauses for a few moments, perhaps pondering his own statement. “Err Dad. Do many people have Amazon Prime?”

“I believe it’s growing in popularity,” I say, invoking my fatherly privilege to all knowledge.

Actually, Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy published a report in March 2013 that claimed Amazon Prime membership had more than 10 million at the time of writing.Shame I didn’t have the use of Google during our discussion.

“So for all our hard work, and the fact that At The Walls Of Galbrieth won a fancy award, anyone can now get it for free? That sucks.”

“It’s like a library,” I say, not sure whether I want to convince him or myself. “People can now borrow the ebook and it will help fantasy…

View original post 359 more words

Random Thoughts and Sound Bites – Roger Ingalls

Obamacare

Why has the Republican Party turned into an uncoordinated group of domestic terrorists trying to destroy the US economy? It’s a thrash and burn tactic synonymous with defeat; it’s just like Saddam blowing up oil wells as his army retreated from Kuwait. The conservatives know the Affordable Health Care Act won’t cause the world to stop as they’ve predicted and the people will mostly endorse it once underway. The party will have major egg on their face and they know it.

Government Shutdown

Why is a small group of right-wing zealots allowed to do harm to the country? By definition, a group conspiring to harm the USA is committing treason. They should be rounded up and given due process. Calling yourself a political party doesn’t exempt you from prosecution for treasonous acts.

Global Warming

The IPCC has released their fifth report on climate change and it is now 95% certain that this cycle of global warming is being caused by humans. As I’ve said in the past, it doesn’t really matter what’s causing it, we need to prepare for it…build an economy for it. It is here to stay. However, I’m still amazed that pseudo-scientists are still trying to deny the cause. The fakes are now even generating their own report with an almost identical name to further confuse the truth. All one has to do is look at who is backing these deniers and it becomes obvious that they’re shadowy hired guns supported by fossil fuel based corporation.

War on Terror

Listening to the local radio talk show, I was surprised to hear a frank speaking person with opinions seemingly based on real information. Then it became obvious. He was an ex-military higher up who worked under Colin Powell. His name is Lawrence Wilkerson (retired Army Colonel). I didn’t agree with all he said but Wilkerson did confirm something I strongly believe in. The WAR on Terror is misguided. The odds of an American getting killed by a terrorist is less likely than being struck by lightning yet we spend billions on top of billions under this fear mongering program. The military spending serves another hidden purpose.

Against Gun Control?

My colleagues and I at Left Coast Voices have written time after time about gun control in the last couple of years. These are often the most-viewed posts and those that elicit more comments. The comments are often cynical, sarcastic or occasionally abusive.

Whatever your emotions, feelings, beliefs, gun control refuses to leave the stage of public debate. Perhaps if there were not so many massacres or the almost daily murders then the debate and interest might wane. 

Little CrossesBut it isn’t. 

So this is a short post urging those who are against gun control to voice their arguments. It is also an opportunity for NRA members who believe that there should be gun control to stand up.

No comment, written respectively, will be edited or doctored. If you want to write more than a few paragraphs (400-600 words, I will post your article as a guest post.

Our democracy is built upon a foundation of debate and the exchange of ideas. True debate involves people with differing opinion. Many of us on the left are building stereotypes of those who oppose gun control, demonizing people into images and caricatures that delegitimize and deny any validation to their views.

imgres-2More so, it fails to understand their fears and beliefs. Without such understanding, we can never begin a dialogue that will allow for genuine national debate and a change in policy.

A gun in the wrong hands threatens our safety and the safety of our children. The refusal to debate and listen to the other point-of-view is a threat to our democracy and the very fabric of our society.

Let’s makes a start. Who will be first?

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Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of Galbrieth, Wycaan Master Book 1 and The First Decree, both released by Tourmaline Books. Ashbar – Book 3 – is due for release in October 2013. Shalev is also the author of three social justice-themed novels including Unwanted Heroes. He swears there is a connection. More at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter).

Obamacare. Wow. – Tom Rossi

Oh, the fun I’m having watching the news, these days! The Republican whining about Obamacare has reached a feverish pitch, and the good guys are ahead of the bad guys by a touchdown, with less than one hour to play!

By the time you read this, a large part of the U.S. government will probably have been shut down. All because “Americans are suffering from Obamacare,” according to self-appointed head of the Lollidip Guild, Ted Cruz.

Enough has been said about how ridiculous is this political grandstanding, so, in case you haven’t already educated yourself, I’m just going to give my own little example of what the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will mean to my wife and me.

My wife and I are not so good at making money. We are both well educated people who loathe the idea of performing some little task, over and over, in order to earn lots of money. Many people earn good money and don’t do that, but they probably did do just that to get to their present positions.

So, we have been struggling to pay for our HMO plan, one with a huge deductible and monthly premiums (or premia, for you Latin majors, out there) that we can’t really afford.

The website coveredca.com was recently put up to assist people figuring what their insurance costs would be under Obamacare. I used this website to calculate what our costs will be.

Wow.

We will qualify for a plan with a much lower deductible of $500. Our copays will be about half of what they are now, and more procedures such as lab tests will be covered. We can keep our same HMO, our same doctors, and we will be paying about $250 less than we are now.

That’s right – same insurer, same doctors, more coverage, lower deductibles, and much cheaper. Did I say “Wow?” Wow.

As I admitted earlier, our income is well below the U.S. average, or “mean”. But we are actually very close to the “mode” for U.S. incomes, which gives a much better picture of what the typical person or family actually earns. In other words, there are lots of people in situations very similar to ours.

So who is “suffering” under Obamacare? Actually, that doesn’t make any sense, because most of it hasn’t taken affect, yet. But who WILL suffer under Obamacare? Certainly not us. Odds are, you won’t either.

AATTP-Ted-Cruz1-547x330

-Tom Rossi

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Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.

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