Showing posts with label Obamacare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obamacare. Show all posts

14 November, 2013

Gator People Live In the River: Conscious Conscience

Government is not reason. It is not eloquent. It is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. - George Washington

Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys. - P.J. O'Rourke

If there is an argument against the existence of what the tea baggers and neo-cons refer to as "the nanny state" it is the shameful state of the social net.

The gradual whittling down of social programs to force people into market-driven servitude  "for their own good" comes down to us from the same folks who would drug-test anyone applying for help and be critical of anyone on assistance who has the unmitigated gall to have a cell phone. Of course, the paternal and dehumanizing tone these powermongers, lackeys, and lapdogs take is completely lost on them, and generally ignored by those well intended folks insist that voting Democratic will somehow fix the problem.

Not that I'm endorsing the GOP, the Tea Party, or any other version thereof , sometimes referred to as "third parties" (which is a funny term since the collected total of them would not garner a full third of the ballot tossing public if anyone paid attention to the details of their notions). Far from it. Experience and perpetual study has taught me that the only difference between a lying incumbent and a well-intended outsider is corporate sponsorship and the first sniff whiff of power. Beyond that, all politicians are by nature too pragmatic for anything as ideal as real "re-form.*"
Now, those of you who insist on calling Obamacare )AKA the Affordable Health Care Act, AKA The Single Largest Upward Redistribution of Wealth since the Wall Street Bail Out and the 401K) proof of the existence of the nanny state roll your eyes and mumble about gun rights and lazy poor people with iphones and how your tax dollars are being used to support a bunch of ingrates, be aware that the very people you have decided to blame for all your problems (the poor, the homeless, the powerless) are not waiting for you to catch on to the fact that after they're shuffled off from view that you will be next.  Your judgement, hatred, and paternalism masked as philosophical ideology does not change the fact that you have more in common with them than with the powermongers and grafters with whom you have thrown in your lot.

Not seeing or hearing the train barreling down on you doesn't change the fact that the train is rolling on.

The recent cuts in SNAP -- the food assistance program that used to be called Food Stamps -- will have catastrophic impacts on people who are the least able to wield any political power to improve their lot. Meanwhile, Exxon will get tax subsidies that far outweigh any tax they might pay. Meanwhile, the insurance industry will get richer and people who can't afford insurance will be further penalized. 

The good news is that there are people out here who are not waiting on the government to grow a conscience; and they are not waiting on you to grow one, either.  But we will share when you're in need. Just remember how you got here when you arrive.


* Notice the root word and prefix. Then think about what it really means.

01 October, 2013

Gator People Live In The River: Shut Down Smackdown, Cave RunStorytelling, Up and downdates

Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

Governments never lead; they follow progress. - Lucy Parsons

Well, they went and did it. The immortal game of chicken has resulted in yet another government shutdown. This will yield infinite public relations pundit points for the right as they scramble to find someone who can run for President in 2016 -- sorry, Ted Cruz, in all his Tex-Mex Tea Party Glory, cannot run because he is... in the parlance of the times... a Canuck.

The GOPers and T-Baggers will blame the White House. The Dems will blame the T-Baggers. Obama will stand resolute -- or not -- and either way his hand is played pretty much the same way. Those of use who question the usefulness of the government will search for signs and smoke signals in the landscape that the world will, indeed, move forward without the Beltway Bozos. 

My mind turns inevitably to a North Illinois agribusiness baron and good Rotarian-in-standing, who I had occasion to skewer in print for his absolute lack of humanity, Mr. Rod Fritz. Among the gems that have fallen from his sly, smiling lips as he rubbed his palms together waiting for a bushel of corn to top $8 so he could unload his hoarded store onto the market and make a killing, Mr. Fritz once pointed out that his life would not change at all except for he would not be required to pay taxes.

Of course, he had already cashed his yearly subsidy check. He had a full growing season plus the winter to ferret out a way to blame Liberals while buying out his less moneyed neighbors and bulldozing their houses. 

Mr. Fritz is unencumbered this morning, as are his fellow robber barons. The gold-hoarders, the multinational corporations who actually run everything and who have been waiting on this shut down for their own nefarious reasons, are not affected. And of course, we are all glad to hear it. There is nothing worse than watching a rich man cry over spilled money. 

The sticking point -- again -- is Obamacare, which I have pointed out numerous times is probably the biggest money grab by the insurance industry since deregulation. Please bear in mind -- they are not against a mandate requiring everyone to have health insurance, any more than car insurance companies are against the law requiring people to have car insurance. They are against regulation, and that is why they're pulling the strings of their bought pets in Congress to fight the ACA. 

But whether the T-Baggers win their pandering attempts to de-fund Obamacare, or whether the law stands, the insurance industry will be rolling in money. Rolling. Like a pig rolls in shit. If that metaphor is overplayed, then please insert this one: the insurance industry will be lapping up ill-gotten gains with all the fervor of a dog licking his own testicles.

You're welcome.

Also do keep in mind that while the insurance industry doesn't suffer, while the robber barons don't suffer, while the multi-national thieves don't suffer, there is a short list of folks who will:

  • Active and reserve military and their families;
  • Children and the elderly on SNAP (food stamps); 
  • People on Social Security;
  • People on Medicare and Medicaid;
  • People drawing unemployment benefits.

But since that is, after all, such a short list that in no way takes up the same amount of space as the primary campaign contributors for the schleps in Congress. If I'm missing any, please mention them in comments. I'm writing off the top of my head here in the south side bunker where I am waiting for the world to not end.

While the Beltway Bozos were going through the dress rehearsal for their version of West Side Story, The Traveller's Angel and I packed up the truck and headed east for a weekend of camping and storytelling at the Cave Run Storytelling Festival. We had a blast. On Saturday evening, there was a story slam and both of us put our names in. I somehow managed to get on stage, though they ran out of time before Amanda could -- which is a shame, since she would have shamed the three folks who won. I was beat out by a lady preacher who needs a man (her words, not mine), and old guy (who was actually pretty good) and an art student who pulled in a 3rd place victory largely because it's understood that students are charity cases.

A good time was had by all, and I heard some really amazing storytellers. We also had a chance to stop out at Willow Creek for a brief visit with the Eklunds, who are amazing friends and amazing artists and amazing people. We should visit with them more often than we do.