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February 2010

The Real World, DC!


This is the true story, of 40 politicians, picked to live together, for seven and a half hours, and have their lives taped, to find out what happens when people stop being polite, and start getting REAL!  The Real World DC!  Minus the edgy sound track and MTV style fast camera cuts, that’s pretty much what the Health Care Summit was, extremely predictable reality television.  Now I’m not gonna sit here and claim that I watched all seven and a half hours of this must see TV, because I didn’t.  I actually have a life and just like watching the movie Titanic, I pretty much knew what the outcome was going to be.  Maybe if Nancy Pelosi stripped down on a red velvet couch while John Dingle drew a portrait of her it would have been more interesting, but that was not very likely to happen.  But if you missed the health care summit hosted by President Obama today lets just say that it was only slightly more exciting to watch then the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympics.  So let me give you the cliff notes of what went on at Reformapalooza 2010.  After everyone arrived, they changed into there tie dyes and open toed sandals.  Barack gave everyone a high five, while John McCain lit some incense that he had been saving since his days in the Hanoi Hilton.  Then they all sat down indian style in a circle, democrat, republican and so on, and passed around a hookah that Joe Biden found in the Lincoln bedroom.  After they were all totally wasted, House GOP Leader John Boehner broke out 40 tabs of some trippin’ LSD that he got from Wavy Gravy at Woodstock.  Then they all agreed on a Single Payer Health Care system, sang We Are The World, and all of the republicans pledged to become democrats.  It was awesome!
You know I have to give President Obama a lot of credit here.  This summit, pow wow, meeting, what ever you want to call it, was not something he had to do.  The reality is he does not need the republicans to get this done.  The senate democrats could pass this tomorrow through reconciliation with 51 votes, and not a single republican involved.  But Obama is not your ordinary President.  So why did he have this meeting?  I’ll tell you why.  The president is not in charge of the Senate. To take control the President needed to get these politicians on his turf.  He needed to take them out of there comfort zone where they don’t discuss, but only lecture each other.  He needed to put these politicians in a place where they had to talk to each other and where he could make the rules and control how they talked.  And that he did. For the first time in this insane year long debate where even when republicans have admitted that reform is needed, yet still have done everything in there power to block it, there was real conversation.  There was honest agreement on a limited number of points, and a whole lot of disagreement, and even though it became clear to both sides by the end of the day that if reform was to happen going to happen, it was most likely not going to be with the help of the republicans, President Obama now could move forward and honestly say to both sides, and the American people, I listened, I tried, I did everything I could short of caving in and giving the republicans everything they wanted.  I don’t think for a moment that the President expected everyone to come together, sing Kumbaya, and walk out with unanimous support, but he showed that he is a different type president then we have ever seen.  He talks straight, tells it like it is and even when other may wonder why he’s not playing hardball with the other side, ignoring the Republicans, and just ramming through his policies, he sticks to his values and does it his way.  He said during his campaign that he believes in dialogue with your opposition.  He believes in discussion.  Our last president shut out dialogue with the democrats, he shut out Iran, he shut out the Palestinians, he shut out the entire Muslim world, unless we needed there oil.  If they opposed us or our allies they were shut out.  And in turn, in many parts of the world so were we.  This President believes that without dialogue there can be no progress, and while others may disagree with that philosophy, Obama is our President and he will run things in the way that he believes will benefit this country the most.  And if that means he needs to hold the Republicans feet to the coals and force them to have a real discussion with him about one of the most important pieces of legislation of our time, even if he knows what the outcome will be, then that’s what this President will do.  We may not agree, we may not understand, we may not even watch, but 3.9 million people did. Apparently this was must see TV.


The Mass Murder Of America


In 2006 I was selling mortgages, but not just any mortgages I was selling those sub-prime, interest only, nothing down, debt consolidation, 30 day ARM, you don’t know what the hell you just got yourself into, mortgages.  Now sure, just like the SS guards, I was only following orders that my generals from Countrywide told me to follow, but I knew what I was doing and quite frankly couldn’t believe that some of the loans that I sold, people actually went for.   Now to be honest, I never tricked anyone into anything.  I told them exactly what they were getting and how the loan worked, but to be fair most of the people I spoke to weren’t exactly financial geniuses.  They were just happy that all of their credit card bills, medical bills, car loans, and student loans, were going to be paid off, they were going to get $3000 in cash, and would now have only one payment instead of thirty.  Never mind I was raising their interest rate 4 points, there 6 year car loan just turned into a 30 year car loan, and the amount of interest they were going to pay over the life of the loan increased 20 fold.  They were just happy they had cash, and more money in their pocket each month, that is until the interest rate went up 2 years later, changed every month, and they maxed out all of their credit cards again, but by that time I was out of the game and Countrywide, well if you’ve seen the news, you know what happened to Countrywide.   But during that time I got to read hundreds of credit reports, and I didn’t need an international study to tell me what was crystal clear from reading all these credit reports.  The biggest reason that people had filed for bankruptcy was due to medical bills and medical premiums they could not afford.  These were everyday Americans just like you and me.  Most of them had health insurance but it only took one catastrophic illness to destroy them financially and ruin everything that they had worked so hard for there entire lives.
Last year, In a article published in the Washington Post it stated that according to a nationwide study released by the American Journal of Medicine “Sixty-two percent of all bankruptcies filed in 2007 were linked to medical expenses…and nearly 80 percent had health insurance.”  In addition, the Article stated that the authors of the study concluded that the financing of health care in this country is “broken” and that middle class families, “frequently collapse under the strain of the health care system that treats physical wounds, but inflicts fiscal ones.” By comparison, in 1981 only 8% of families filing for bankruptcy cited medical expenses as the primary reason for filing.  But what most don’t realize is that this problem is no longer simply an issue of affordable healthcare for all Americans.  The reality is, Health Care Finance Reform is the single most important issue affecting every American on this planet.  In the history of our nation there has never been an issue more vital to the continued health, welfare and economic growth of our country as reforming health care.  What I frankly can not understand is why this issue has not been emphasized more, of how vitally important economically health reform is to our county.  So let's break it down. In 2009 there were 1,400,000 bankruptcies filed in the U.S. and 62% were due to medical expenses.  Than means 868,000 Americans filed for bankruptcy due to medical expenses.  So we are talking about 868,000 Americans that because of medical expenses, because of a broken health care finance system, have to put so much of there personal income towards paying off uncovered medical expenses that they have nothing left to invest in personal savings, buying real estate, purchasing cars, opening businesses, paying for college, or buying any of the other millions of goods and services that are so vital to growing our national economy and would help to bring us out of this economic hole that we have been in for the last nine years.  Even Americans who are fortunate enough to be able to afford there medical expenses and don’t have to file bankruptcy still have to divert funds from other goods, services and investments that could be benefiting the grown of our economy.  The issue of health Care Finance Reform makes every other issue pale by comparison including Jobs.  Ask any economist in this county, if you want to bring back jobs you have to stimulate the economy.  People have to have money to buy goods and services.  If so much of our money is being diverted to medical expenses that American are going bankrupt, growing our economy becomes that much more difficult.  In California insurance costs are rising by as much as 40 percent.  This means more money going towards insurance premiums and less going into our economy.  It means more business that have to pay more for group health insurance and have to make choices on how to pay for those increases.  They can pass the cost along to there workers who will then have less in there paycheck, or they can reduce benefits to keep rates down but then the workers will have to put more out for uncovered services, or they can pass the costs along to you and me by raising the price of there goods and services to cover the increase in insurance costs.  All of that translates to more going to pay for health care and less going to everything else.  And then there are those who can't afford health care insurance, or those with a pre-existing condition who can’t get covered, or those with chronic illnesses who have maxed out there coverage and have to pay every penny of there health care themselves and have to pick and choose what they get treated for and pray that nothing serious happens.  How do these people pay for goods and services that help grow our economy when most of there income is going to health care costs?  If you want to bring back jobs, reduce the cost of health care to all Americans, eliminate bankruptcies due to medical expenses, allow Americans to spend there money on goods and services rather then medical bills and insurance premiums.   Make it more affordable for small business to provide group coverage to there employees so that small businesses can compete in the job market for qualified employees, and have more capitol to grow there businesses.  Our current health care finance system is killing our economy.  I've said it before and I’ll say it again, this is not a political issue, this is a human issue.  Both Democrats and Republicans need to step up and do what is right for this country and stop making it about what is in it for them.  We need reform that eliminates pre-existing conditions, eliminates caps on coverage, and brings down costs, and the only way that is going to happen is with a true public option that is available too all Americans.  With out that the insurance giants will continue to have no competition and no reason to reduce costs and the only ones who will see more money in there pockets will be the CEOs of the Health Insurance giants.  And you and me, regardless of income, will be only one catastrophic illness away from financial ruin. 

The Tea Baggers (giggle) are F--king Retards!


The Tea Baggers are f—king retards!  Oh I’m sorry, was that not politically correct and incredibly insensitive of me?  Did I pull a Rahm?  Well then let me now apologize for everything that I am about to say in this article and let you know in advance that if you are easily offended, boo hoo for you and go grow a pair!  Quite frankly I don’t know who I’m more pissed at, the Tea Baggers, the Republicans, the Democrats, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, or Mickey Mouse (I missed the G-D Dam State of the Union speech because I was riding Space Mountain for a week!)  Ok, maybe calling the Tea Baggers, retards is a bit harsh but they did call themselves Tea Baggers without realizing the graphic connotation that makes me giggle like Bevis every time Butthead said the word “Ball”.  And I find it both interesting and disturbing that I have never seen a more racist and illiterate group of individuals since the people of Louisiana elected David Duke (you know, former grand wizard of the KKK) as Republican State Representative.  The keynote speaker at the Tea Party convention was former Republican Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo (“who?” you’re asking.  Yea I never heard of him either,) who suggested in his speech that Obama won because, "we do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote in this country, people who could not even spell the word 'vote,' or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House, name is Barack Hussein Obama."  So basically Tommy Boy is suggesting that we go back to the Jim Crow laws that existed before the civil rights movement that kept African Americans from voting because many of them could not pass the test that was given in order to vote.  This is so wrong and racist on so many levels that it baffles me!  So it is not enough for an individual to be a citizen on this country to have the right to vote, now they have to be literate, and pass a test?  Well then I guess that would eliminate a large number of Tea Party members.  Let’s look at some Tea Party signs in this video from Jimmy Kimmel:

As far as I can tell there is no official demographic study of who makes up this Tea Party but as one reporter observed who was at the convention “it was hard to ignore the one-sided demographic of the attendees.  There's virtually no one under the age of 45 and almost no African-American or minority group represented.  This is very much a white, middle-aged gathering.” And let’s get one other thing straight here.  Barack Obama is not a Socialist.  He is not a Communist, or Fascist, or Marxist, or Nazi, or any other word that these paranoid Tea Baggers (giggle) keep randomly shouting out without even knowing there true meaning.  Apparently all of these words are now interchangeable.  Socialism “advocates a system of collective or government ownership and management of the means of production and distribution of goods.” If Obama was a Socialist he would not be trying to get banks to increase loans to small businesses, he would want to own all the small businesses.  He would not be trying to create a new health care insurance system that promotes increased competition among insurance companies in order to drive down costs to consumers, instead he would be an advocate of Single- Payer and would want to eliminate the insurance companies all together. I don’t mind when individuals have dissenting views.  Supreme Court justices do it all the time.  The difference is that there arguments are based on pure fact, not on made up fiction that is only designed to incite uneducated morons who are too lazy and stupid to check the claims they hear for themselves.  These people are like lemmings following who ever yells the loudest off the cliff. 
But what the Tea Party movement really is, is a clear sign of the failure of the Republican party to come together and provide leadership and clarity to their party members.  Tea Partiers are nothing more than hard core, ultra conservative republicans that don’t feel that they are being heard by their own party, and watch way to much FOX news.  They are Republicans who were so used to being in power and having their agenda in the White House for so long, that now they are in shock that there power has been completely eroded and the religious right that used to rule the roost, no longer does.  The Republicans have made it abundantly clear that they have one agenda, and that is stopping President Obama any way they can even if what he wants to do is the right thing to do.  They have made it clear that there will not be any compromise, no matter how often the President meets with the GOP or makes speeches to joint session or holds press conferences expressing how he is more than willing to listen to any body.  No matter how often the President expresses that we must put partisan politics aside for the good of the people, it has been made clear that the GOP will do nothing of the sort.  And while I would fully expect Democrats to do the same if the shoe was on the other foot, it is plain wrong and the practice should cease.  I was not a supporter of George W. Bush, but I sure did not want him to fail, and if he did something that I liked I supported it regardless if I voted for him or not, and to be quite frank, I did vote for him when he ran for his second term, but only because I thought John Kerry was a terrible candidate for the Democrats and I think I was drunk on voting day.   But it seems that this time around, the republicans do not want to give this guy a break.  Even when companies like Anthem Blue Cross of California, (who announced this week that they will be raising there rates by a whopping 39%), are taking complete advantage of the general consumer and forcing many into bankruptcy and causing others to lose their insurance completely because they cannot afford to pay these exorbitant rates. There is hardly a Republican who will not say that we need reform, yet they will not work with this president on anything.  Like many progressive democrats, I have been unhappy with the president.  He has not been vocal enough, but now he is and I applaud him.  Mabey it took the election of Scott Brown to wake him up but whatever it is it worked.  I just hope he spends more time putting the ones who are obstructing progress in their place and keeping his message in front of the American people, and less time trying to get the Republicans to play nice, because they will not.  They will continue to rely on lies and scare tactics.  The Tea Baggers (giggle) will continue to believe the lies and propagate the fear.  Sarah Palin will continue to prove herself the idiot that she is (Really Sarah, you wrote on your hand after criticizing the President for using teleprompters!) and bigger idiots will put her in the number one position for Republicans they would vote for president.  In a recent poll, 63 percent of self identified Republicans believe Obama is a socialist, 39 percent think he should be impeached, 24 percent said Obama wants “the terrorists to win”, 31 percent agreed with the statement that Obama is “a racist who hates white people”, 36 percent of respondents do not believe the president was born in this country, and 23 percent, want their state to secede from the union…Retards! (oops, my bad.)