Where is the education and justice in our Education and (In)Justice Systems?

Leave a comment

There aren’t too many important things in this country more important than educating our children. Children are our future right? Such a simple concept to grasp, yet this country has the manipulative talent to make it as complex as possible. Despite expectations, No Child Left Behind left oh so many children behind. And assessments across the country for Common Core State Standards, which are supposed to make students college and career ready, are preparing them for a career of…marking the letter a or b. (further discussion on those later). The results of these poor policies created by billionaires (who would have thought billionaires know absolutely nothing about education) go from one spectrum to another. From school closings and illiterate children, to the most recent, jailing teachers, these policies have shown that America doesn’t know how to educate, doesn’t know how to “justice,” and surely doesn’t care to learn how to do either.

9 former Atlantic public school educators were sentenced to prison on Tuesday for a widespread conspiracy to cheat on state tests. The sentences ranged from 6 months to 7 years. There is no secret that this country has an incarceration problem, coupled with a disproportionate sentencing problem. The investigation found several cases of teachers and principals changing wrong answers on students’ answer sheets and an environment where cheating was encouraged. I am in no way endorsing cheating or dismissing what these educators did. It was wrong, illegal, and completely unethical. But context is everything. A federal report in 2013 found that 40 states showed evidence of this type of cheating. These educators were not alone. So let’s look at why cheating would even cross these educators’ minds.Featured image

NCLB, in its realistic ways, required each state to show 100% proficiency in math and reading on state assessments by 2014 (yeah, that didn’t happen). In order to receive federal funding, states were required to test students in science, reading, and math annually (depending on the grade). All students, disabled, poor, English language learners, were all supposed to progress with the general students. States had to meet an Adequate Yearly Progress (a certain percentage proving that students progressed yearly) and if not, they were hit with sanctions. And these weren’t just baby sanctions, they were the mother of all sanctions. Some of them included: shutting down the school and reopening as a charter school, replacing school staff, hiring a private company to run the school, or reducing federal funding. Principals and superintendents around the country felt the pressure and the teachers were held to a whole new level of accountability. If the students didn’t pass, it was the teachers fault. If enough didn’t pass, the teacher’s job was on the line.

(Again, not condoning or making an excuse for their cheating.) But we have created this culture that is so fixated on testing and accountability that we have lost sight of what our goals are with these tests (I like to call it “testing by any means necessary”). So we’re telling our kids that if they fail these tests, they’re dumb. And we’re telling our teachers that if their students fail these tests, their students are dumb and they’re bad teachers. And we’re telling our principals that if their students fail these tests, their students are dumb, their teachers are bad, and they can’t run a school. And up the chain we go until we cut funding, close schools, and fire educators. Only to hire a new round of failures. Wait, you mean this isn’t how education is supposed to work? So what did educators in Atlanta and 39 other states do? They cheated. Yeah it was shady. Yeah it was wrong. But that’s the type of culture we have created. Cheaters.Testing, testing, testing

Now can we talk about how ridiculously disproportionate the punishment is to the crime? Even the prosecutor in the case asked for less time than 7 years. Fire the educators, obviously. Fine them. Make them do community service. Probation. Hell, anything ANYTHING else. The purpose of prison is rehabilitation, retribution (emphasis added), and deterrence right? Retribution was the only thing had in this case. The judge said the scandal was “the sickest thing that’s ever happened in the town.” Now I’m not too much of a betting person, but I would place a wager that if you googled the word “crimes” and “Atlanta” you would have a pretty sick and heinous list. And who wants to bet that this teacher scandal would be at the bottom? (me) Teachers who have had sex with students have gotten less time (disturbing, not so fun, fact). Does it help to point out that all the educators were minorities (boom race card). It is helpful to know that the majority of children left behind were minorities. And the schools that were sanctioned the hardest happened to be in urban neighborhoods. So yes, race does go toward my argument of the punishment not fitting the crime.

So as this country continues to put more focus on assessments and accountability; I ask, what is the purpose of our education system and injustice system? Is it to prepare our children to be active citizens? Is it to rehabilitate those who do wrong? Or is it to continue to convince our most marginalized and vulnerable members of society that they are dumb, push them in a corner until they realize that they have no other option but to fight back…and end up where they think we belong anyway.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/04/14/399543049/atlanta-teachers-convicted-in-cheating-scandal-await-sentencing

Priorities and Amnesia..wait, what? Oh what does it matter.

Leave a comment

ImageAs we get closer to November, I feel like America has two main problems (not to mention all the other problems): Priorities and Amnesia. It’s easy for us to get sidetracked from what’s really important. Well with all the media coverage and the persuasive journalism dictating what you and what you don’t pay attention to. I’ve been trying to draw light to what I deem important, and that’s rather difficult when no one else (in power) deems it as important.

Take for instance this whole outsourcing thing. Pretty serious? Yeah it’s one of the single most things that is killing our jobs right now. Everyone knows what outsourcing is, or the basics at least—major corporations ship their jobs to places like Cambodia or Indonesia. I’m pretty sure my iphone was shipped from Taiwan, or China, one of those places. (I’m not supporting outsourcing, I just really needed a new phone).

Not only do these corporations ship our jobs overseas, but they get tax breaks for doing it! They open up foreign accounts so they don’t have to pay American taxes and under current law, companies can deduct moving employees and equipment overseas from their taxes. Currently the nominal tax rate is 35%. Nominal means what corporations should be paying. The real tax rate? Pretty much 0. So if companies don’t have to pay their taxes and have all of these loop holes to not pay taxes, then who does? Well the regular, average, every day citizen does.

Here’s the thing, I don’t blame these corporations for shipping their jobs overseas and taking part in all of these tax loopholes. Why would I? They get richer and the government just lets it happen. I’ve been waiting a long time for something to come across in Congress to change this. And so it happened.

The Bring Jobs Home Act was brought to the Senate on July 19th. The act would eliminate the tax deductions and loopholes for companies who ship their jobs overseas and create a 20% tax break (oh yeah, tax break) for corporations who move their jobs back to the states. Now if you ask me (which they didn’t) this is a no brainer! Tax breaks for those who bring their jobs back to the US, cut out the other tax breaks, DUH! But I guess it was only a no brainer for the common sensers out there because it was blocked by 42 Republicans. Didn’t even make it to the floor for discussion.

I kept asking myself, why!? What possible motive could Republicans have to block this bill? Some pretty good reasons don’t ya know. Apparently they wanted to amend it…with repealing Obamacare. Bring jobs home….no health care for you! Those are apples and oranges, seriously. But I guess it makes sense that Republicans are going to do whatever they have to do to protect those corporations who line their pockets. Oh and it would also make us a weaker competitor globally..whatever, that remark doesn’t even get a comment.

It’s as if priorities mean nothing to these people. It’s a simple solution, bring jobs home, get a tax breaks, BOOM, economic boost!

But meanwhile in Republican land..this is what they choose to do with their time. Apparently a Republican Rep from the good ol’ state of Pennsylvania, Mike Kelly, was devastated that the provisions for women’s health care went into effect yesterday. (Free birth control, paps, breast cancer screenings, etc…). So much so that he said that this day (August 1st) will go down in history alongside the attacks of Pearl Harbor and 9/11 as an attack on our religious freedom. Now I know you’re thinking to yourself, how do these points relate? And to be honest, I really don’t know. But this is what Republicans get upset about. Not the fact that our corporations are giving our jobs away, but the fact that because I can now receive free birth control, I am hindering your ability to pray. http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/08/01/13071610-a-quote-that-will-live-in-infamy?lite

Amnesia is my second point. Americans have a really difficult time remembering. Remembering the President before Obama who drove us in the hole (He who must not be named). Remembering how stupid we were for not allowing blacks and whites to get married and being the same kind of stupid in not allowing gays to marry. And remembering what built America—what made us #1 in the world.

Manufacturing is a huge part of American history. Remember when Detroit was a booming city with jobs for all? Yeah me neither. In 1943 the manufacturing sector employed 38.7% of working people. Now, it’s less than 10%. Where are all the jobs? Overseas! See, it’s a circle. And manufacturing has taken the largest unemployment hit.

Meanwhile in Republican land…Instead of working on a jobs bill, the Repubs have written an act to make English the official language of the U.S. and will be heard by the Judiciary Committee next week.  http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/08/02/13086618-gop-culture-war-turns-to-english-only?lite Will that employ people? No, ok, moving along.

Many people think there isn’t one easy way that will to get the economy back up and running. But, I happen to disagree. Stopping the tax loopholes for corporations who outsource is an easy no brainer. And they still get tax breaks! As long as they bring jobs home. People might complain that products will cost more. And they might, but if you don’t have a job now, you can’t really afford those same products, correct? So that’s moot.

When I tried to research the Bring Jobs Home Act, I found like 3 credible articles. No one talked about it. It just slipped under the radar. Of course Fox News didn’t talk about it; it was initiated by a Democrat!

Meanwhile in Fox Nation…

Image

Priorities folks, priorities…

Operation GOP and Furious, Gun control, and Drug Cartels.

Leave a comment

Today has been one interesting, infuriating, and conspiracy filled day in politics. It makes my head hurt just thinking about it all. The House committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted (on a strictly party line vote) to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. If the entire House (majority Republican) approves the vote, he will be the first Attorney General in history to be held in contempt of Congress.

So let’s see what brought about this extremely bold and painfully political move. Operation Fast and Furious was a gun strategy that was run by ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) that allowed illegal guns to be sold across the border (tracking them of course) in Mexico to drug cartels, and then arresting the buyers. May I point out just how stupid this plan was, but that’s beside the point. In 2011 there were 20 suspects that had been indicted for buying these illegal guns. There were 2,020 firearms bought in this operation and the majority of these guns are still missing. And in 2010 a border patrol officer was shot and killed by one of these illegal guns.

Now I know what you’re thinking, 2009, this was Obama’s plan! Funny you should think that. Americans have such short term memories. The first “gunwalking” operation, what it was called, actually occurred in 2006 under the Bush Administration. You may hear right wingers say that the first Fast and Furious operation occurred in 2009 and they would actually be correct but don’t let the play on words fool you! The name was changed in 2009, before then it was called Operation Wide Receiver (see how they did that there). Under the Bush Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ), there were 200 firearms that crossed the border and no one was indicted. And to be honest, there is no proof that either Bush or Obama knew the specific details of the operations because they were run by ATF.

So now we can get into the conspiracy theories. For some strange reason, Republicans actually believe that Operation Fast and Furious was President Obama’s plan to suspend our 2nd Amendment rights. Yup that’s right, this policy that didn’t even formulate while President Obama was in office, is his way of sticking it to all the gun owners out there. The whole operation was to make people afraid of gun violence—leaking it to the media that there was an outbreak of illegal gun violence. Did that make any sense to you? Good, I’m not the only one confused by the stupidity. (Seriously though, Rush Limbaugh’s website has an in-depth explanation; I couldn’t even finish it because I could feel myself questioning my morals).

And this brings us to Attorney General Eric Holder (who is a dead ringer for Stedman, not gonna lie). Anyways, Holder found out about these “gunwalks” (selling the illegal guns to suspected drug traffickers) and asked the Justice Department to investigate the matter. So, the congressional committee voted to hold Eric Holder in Contempt of Congress for not turning over the documents related to Fast and Furious. (Contempt of Congress is similar to contempt of court. Congress can get a civil judgment from a federal court holding Holder (lol) legally obligated turn over the documents outlined in the subpoena). It’s important to point out that Issas and his committee have yet to call anyone under the Bush administration for information about the beginnings of Operation Wide Receiver.

Why doesn’t he just turn over the documents you ask? Well he did, kind of. He gave them 7,600 pages worth of stuff that no one is probably going to read anyway (exhibit A: the Patriot Act). They just want the rest of it. Holder has stood firm in not handing in the rest of the documents for confidentiality purposes (Grand Jury Testimony & confidential sources). So President Obama stepped in and did what any President has the right to do—invoke executive privilege. The President can invoke executive privilege so that information does not and cannot be released for whatever reason. Fox news seems to think that executive privilege only protects the communications with the President, but to much surprise (yeah ok), they are wrong. Executive privilege can protect executive branch officials as long as they were involved in government-decision making processes.

So now the Right wing is furious! What does Obama have to hide? He’s saving himself and his buddy! Well this is the first time that Obama has invoked executive privilege. Former President Bush invoked executive privilege six times (but no one said a darn thing because it was for “national security purposes”). He used it to block a White House Counsel from testifying about the administrations firings in 2006 (well shoot those weren’t communications with the president FOX).

Truthfully this has nothing to do with Operation Fast and Furious, and I don’t even think it has anything to do with the conspiracy to make guns unconstitutional considering President Obama has done pretty much nothing in terms of gun control (but still the fear is real). I think this has everything to do with pure and utter hatred for our President. What’s the best way to get to him? Make a fool of the administration and make everyone believe that these claims are legitimate. But this is really sad. Considering that our economy, education, and crime rates all suck and this is what our government chooses to focus on.

Be realistic and cut jobs for Teachers, Firemen, and Policemen! (oh the contradictions)

Leave a comment

I’m back! I took a little break from anything that had to do with learning, naturally after you graduate from college you get a little tired. Anyway, I missed the political blogging world!

I saw something interesting from Romney the other day , and by interesting, I mean “Oh crap, do you actually pre-write this stuff”. You can watch this link http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/romney-loss-public-sector-jobs-means- or just take my word for it that these are quotes. Everyone had a major issue with Obama saying that the private sector is “fine”. So Romney decided to bring that point up in a speech and really stick it to Obama…or stick it to himself, however you see it.

One of the biggest problems with our economy and this continued recession is the loss of public sector (i.e. government jobs), fireman, police officers, and teachers to be exact. Since 2008, we’ve lost about 700,000 public sector jobs. Yup, you’re seeing that right. Since Obama has been in office we’ve lost a good chunk of our public sector. That’s not to say that Obama hasn’t called for an increase in these jobs. The stimulus bill at the beginning of his term called for an increase, but that was temporary. Just a few days ago he called for Congress to pass a bill to increase the public sector, namely fireman, police officers, and teachers. BUT, those right winged republicans are not having that! That’s making government bigger! Isn’t it?

Romney’s response:  “He [Obama] wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.” Ahh please eat your words!!

So let’s break this down. God forbid we hire more fireman, policeman, and teachers. It’s funny, because I always hear teachers saying, “YES, please I want to add 10 more third graders to my class I already don’t have enough desks for”. Except, I don’t. Nor do I hear citizens saying “We need less firemen and policemen so I can feel safer!”

Obama got the message in Wisconsin, money talks and Republicans hate unions. Was that not the right message?

Then, Romney was bold enough to say that Obama was out of touch. Now isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black (disclaimer: that was in no way a racist comment, excuse my pun).

So not only does this not make sense with actual common sense, it doesn’t make sense with logic either. In the creative map I’ve figured below, in each of the past recessions the U.S. has increased the public sector, making the government pretty much safe from a recession. If the government had followed the past governments’ “recession-proof” plan, the unemployment rate would be about 7.3% (taking into account all of the jobs that wouldn’t have been lost and an additional million or so jobs that would have been gained).

Image

By increasing public sector jobs, you essentially increase the size of the private sector. More people are employed, they buy more stuff and involve themselves into the economy; in turn increasing the size of the private sector. It’s kind of like the reverse trickle down affect? Maybe.

The Republicans are so set on their ideological “no big government” stance that they can’t even logically understand how decreasing the public sector is the most insane idea ever. Even Reagan and Bush Sr. increased the size of the public sector. REAGAN, Republican’s poster child!

Image

(Sorry if that scared you, I needed some pizzaz lol) The education system in the U.S. is slowly becoming non-competitive. The solution is not to decrease the amount of teachers. Crime is not decreasing any time soon and the solution isn’t to decrease our policemen.

This is not a partisan, Democrat v. Republican issue. This is simple, common sense, I want a job issue. Sometimes I wish “politics” could be taken out of  “politics”. 

Lions, Tigers, Student Loans! Oh Crap!

2 Comments

College is quickly becoming a debt sentence for most young people. When we were younger, we were constantly encouraged to get a college education (unless you spoke to Santorum, snob). But now that most of us have a college education and a new graduating class is getting ready to plunge into the real world, the realization of having to repay our loans is quickly sinking in. College students in 2012 will be $1 trillion in debt in student loans, the most in history. Five years ago, loan interest rates were set to 3.4% and that is where they currently sit, but without an extension, the 3.4% will increase to 6.8% on July 1st.

Statistics are rather difficult to understand if you don’t have a tangible number with which to associate them. For instance, if you accrued $10,000 in loans over the course of your college career, and you wanted to pay it off in 10 years (which is assuming you have a decent job that allows you to), you would pay $98.42 a month for 10 years. You essentially end up paying $11,810.40 or $1,810.40 in interest. If you have a $10,000 loan at 6.8% interest, you would pay $115.08 a month over 10 years and end up paying $13,809.60 or $3,809.60 in interest. And $10,000 is on the smaller end of most of the loans.

President Obama has proposed to Congress to extend the 3.4% interests rates; the House will vote today and the Senate will vote May 8th. Romney, who is in dire need of the youth vote, also backs this proposal, but he hasn’t always. Romney was asked a couple months ago at a campaign rally what he was going to do about the decreasing amount of subsidized loans and the increasing loan rates. Tip toeing around the question, he replied, and I quote, “I hope you shopped around and looked for a school that has the lowest possible tuition…The right course for America is for business and universities and colleges to compete…For us to make sure that we provide loans to the extent that we possibly can, at an interest rate that doesn’t have the tax payers subsidize people who want to go to school.”

Well excuse me Mr. Romney; I am not buying a refrigerator, shop around for the lowest possible tuition rate? Why is the best thing for America to have universities compete? This isn’t Wall Street. I’m not saying it’s not good to review your options when looking for a college, it always is. But as a presidential candidate, his answer to rising cost of tuition should not simply be to “shop around”. But I digress because this is no longer his stance. Obama proposed to extend the lower interest rates and Romney has to hop on board in order to gain the vote he so desperately needs.

So now that we finally have Republicans and Democrats agreeing, what’s the problem? Well of course, money! Where is the $6 billion going to come from to fund this thing? Republicans want to pull money out of President’s Obama’s health care reform, calling it a “health-care slash fund”. They would cut $17 billion from the prevention and public health fund for immunization, campaigns, research, screenings, and wellness education. Democrats on the other hand want to end tax subsidies for oil and gas companies and close the S-corporation loopholes.

It’s like both parties are hitting each other where it hurts, “You can have your cake but you won’t be able to eat it too”. Agreeing on one thing was difficult enough, trying to agree on two things might just get the whole proposal thrown out.

There is also the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 introduced by Democratic Congressman Hansen Clarke; the petition has been floating across social networks. The Act would create a 10/10 loan repayment plan. It would limit payment amounts to 10 percent of a student’s discretionary income for 10 years, after which it would provide forgiveness. The forgiveness aspect would start after the borrower makes 120 payments, and those payments have to be made under the 10/10 plan. For those who borrow on or after the day the Act is enacted, the cap is $45,520 in principle, fees, and interests. Because prior payments can count, many of those who have been paying off their loans for 10 years or more may be eligible for immediate forgiveness.

If your education loan debt exceeds your income, the act will allow you to convert private student loan debt into federal debt at the 3.4% interest rate, which would then become a part of the 10/10 program. If you enter a public service profession or agree to work in underserved areas of the country, then your requirement to pay would be reduced to 5 years. The Act will be financed by projected savings from the end of Iraq and Afghanistan “Overseas Contingency Operations” (War on Terror).

This Act sounds awesome on paper; I have 10 years to pay my loans, 10% of my income, and the government takes the rest, cool sounds good to me. But let’s be honest, this Act is all kinds of backwards. It sounds great to those who are getting ready to graduate or those who have already graduated, but then you have those who still have yet to enter college saying, “What about us?” The problem with a lot of policies these days is the way they are structured. If Congress wants to help students afford education, they should start at the beginning, not the end as this act suggests. I cannot emphasize enough that universities aren’t Wall Street, they don’t need a bailout.

Hypothetically, if this bill gets passed (and it won’t), how long will the money last?Young people are not going to stop going to college, but the money to forgive their loans will dry up one day. The average public tuition increased by 8.3% in 2010 alone. If the Act has an idea about funding, then that needs to be applied to lowering the cost of tuition. Universities have had to raise their tuition rates because of a decreasing amount of government funding. Pell and Map grants are quickly losing funding and if the loan interest rate goes back up to 6.8%, education is going to be near impossible to afford. What’s the solution? “Oh go ahead and foot the bill for now, we’ll pay you later!” “Ok government, is that a promise?” NO! Why not lower the cost of tuition, fund more federal grants, provide more subsidized loans? Why is no one thinking of this?

So what can we do? Well still sign the petition, maybe if it makes it to Congress they can shoot it down and come up with some better ideas, maybe my common sense idea 🙂 Write your congressman so that they can come up with a better idea to put before Congress. Defer, Defer, Defer! Stick it to the government and find out ways you can defer your loans (definitely something I will be doing). But most importantly, stay informed and vote. Not voting could mean we get stuck with someone who thinks you should shop around for a college education like you’re looking for a washing machine. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

Will they extend the 3.4%? I’m not sure. The problem isn’t agreeing on the extension, the problem is agreeing on the funding. The House Democrats are instructed to vote en masse (or altogether) against the Republican proposed plan for funding. Either way, someone is not going to be happy, I just hope it’s not us students.

Not the Red Scare again! Communist claims at their finest

6 Comments

ImageThe bumper sticker is supposed to be more funny than offensive, but let’s be honest here… Communism is real and I think we may have a 3rd “Red Scare” on our hands, or at least that’s what our conservative counterparts want us to think. Not many people refute stuff when you say it over and over and get a bunch of your colleagues to repeat it. But can we take a step back and actually look up the definition of Communism before we go spitting it up like word vomit?

Communism (according to Dictionary.com): a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state. In other words, it’s a socialist movement to create a classless, moneyless, and stateless society focused on common ownership.

The first Red Scare occurred around 1919 and the second one occurred following WWII. The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union raised a lot of concerns that the Communist and leftist “sympathizers” might be working as Soviet spies. The government began investigating those who they thought were communist spies, creating the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1938. They worked on exposing those communists who were inside the government or in Hollywood. Senator Joseph McCarthy became the face of anti-communism, known as “McCarthyism”. He used intimidation and accusations to scare people into believing those who he accused and those who did not believe in his political views were actual communist plotting espionage tactics. Communists were going to overtake America with their un-American views. BUT, nothing happened and everyone went back to their everyday American, noncommunist, life.

Republican Representative Allen West seems to be the modern day McCarthy. In a statement he made last week, “There’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party”. I mean, when I think of the Democratic Party, I automatically make up arbitrary numbers and associate those numbers to the Communist Party…. except, I don’t. When I think of Communism, I think about the Soviet Union, Lenin and Stalin, any of those ring a bell? They murdered millions of people who didn’t believe in their methods because some people had to be sacrificed for the greater good. Although, Stalin’s ideas of Communism were more about dictatorship than equality.

West was the same guy who said, “You are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up”, to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz because she questioned his stance on Medicare. (Remind me not to cross this guy).

The number West chose is apparently the number of members in the Congressional Progressive Caucus, an organization of the most liberal members in Congress. That’s like saying all the members of the Tea Party are Fascists (one national identity, one national party ruled by a dictator, oppose socialism, communism, and liberal democracy) , and to be honest, I think that’s a closer comparison than Liberals to Communists, even though it’s still far off.

And did anyone raise uproar? Nope. I found 2 articles, one on CNN and one on MSNBC. Fox news probably endorses this; I mean they did compare Obama to Hitler. If a Democratic Congressman referred to members of the Republican Party as “Fascist”, we would never hear the end of it.

So why is this even an issue?

I’ve heard the word Communist thrown around by many Conservatives. Obama is a communist and socialist because of his health care bill, and anyone who supports him is one as well. Nowadays, anything not extremely conservative is liberal, anything slightly liberal is extreme and anything that is extremely liberal is communism. Ronald Regan couldn’t even run in this election, he’d be too liberal. The problem with throwing these illogical words around is that misguided, uniformed conservatives actually believe this stuff. If candidates even try and run on a platform that isn’t extremely conservative or “Tea Party” like, they get chastised. Even Romney knows it because he can finally shift a little more to the center now that radically charged Santorum is out of the race.

There are way more important issues in the U.S. than wasting your time with Communism. But Allen West and his constituents don’t seem to be too concerned with that. If you can ban a bunch of people together, toss around some red paint, you can actually get people to believe that we are this radical group that’s trying to destroy the American institution. If you can get everyone to talk about Communism and Socialism, you can shift their focus from the issues to the jabs on Liberal’s character and invisible stances, as reasons not to elect them. It’s an ingenious plan really. They’re dumb but they’re not stupid!

West is the guy that Sarah Palin said should be Romney’s Vice President running mate. And we obviously value Palin’s opinion; I mean she can see Russia (the Soviet Union) from her house (cheap shot).

We need Americans who are concerned with the economy, education, and health care to step up and disagree with these polarized congressman. Because if we don’t stand up, the right is going to keep moving to the right and the left is going to keep moving to the left…and no one will be able to pass anything. Oh shoot, that’s what’s happening now.

But what do you think? Do you believe that throwing Communist out there is really that big of a deal? Do you agree that Liberals and Communist have virtually nothing in common? Was West’s statement outlandish and was there not enough backlash? Just some things to ponder.

Here’s a link to the video of West. http://video.msnbc.msn.com/martin-bashir/47033288/#47033288

Hey Government, get your hands out of my healthcare!

3 Comments

Bob Englehart in the Hartford Courant

There are certain things government should control and certain things government should not. Women’s reproductive rights? Of course, government should regulate women, someone has to. Healthcare? Of course not, leave government out! Well these aren’t my views but they are the views of many of those who oppose “Obamacare” or “Affordable Care Act”.

So what’s the deal with health insurance? “Obamacare” would force everyone to buy some form of health insurance through an individual mandate. And if you can’t afford it, the government will subsidize some of the costs. If you don’t buy health insurance, you’ll be hit with fines or taxes. The entire bill is about 1,200 pages long but other aspects of the bill include: eliminating preexisting conditions and allowing you to stay on your parent’s healthcare until 26. Most of the stuff doesn’t go into effect until 2014 but I’ll tell you right now, my family probably wouldn’t have health insurance if it weren’t for the current provisions of Obamacare.

The U.S. spends more than any other developed country on health insurance, and we have less people insured. Canada and countries in Europe have a single payer system—which means that citizens get health insurance through the government or some publicly funded institution. Trying to implement this system in the U.S. would be a catastrophe. It would leave millions of people without jobs and shut down all of the insurance companies who employ them. So Obama opted for the individual mandate system, keeps people employed and gets everyone insured.

In 2010, when “Obamacare” was proposed, 16% of Americans were uninsured. Ideally, if everyone is insured, the costs will go down—larger the pool, lower the costs. If someone with no health insurance is rushed to the emergency room, are they turned away? No. So who pays for them? We do—doesn’t matter if they could afford health insurance and just opted not to get it or if they couldn’t afford health insurance. Those with health insurance always foot the bill for those without. So wouldn’t it be easier if everyone got health insurance, I mean, we have to pay anyway right?

So who opposes it? All Republicans and some libertarians…but seriously though, Republicans are angry about this. This is the main reason people call Obama a socialist (but we shouldn’t mention the socialist programs that we like, the military, social security, Medicare/Medicaid…shhh). But anyway, the outrage was loud and powerful enough to get it to the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the individual mandate. The last of the oral arguments were heard today.

Those who oppose think it is unconstitutional and unfair to force everyone to buy some form of health insurance. Now I can understand the anger, I hate being forced to buy things that I don’t want—except, I want health insurance so I take that back, I don’t understand the anger. But think of it this way, technically, the government makes us pay for a lot of things we don’t want to pay for. Does FICA (Medicare and social security) ring a bell? They take that right out of our paychecks so most of us don’t even notice it, let alone use those services. But I can guarantee if the government made us write them a check for these services instead of taking them out ahead of time, we’d be MAD. But they already take it out, so we usually just look at our check, throw a tiny fit, and go about our day.

Now this is something that I find funny: Republicans are quick to complain about something the majority of them already have. (Democrats flip-flop too, but I’m not talking about them 🙂 ). But in all seriousness, individual mandate was a Republican idea (I know, crazy right). Can I point out that Gingrich vocally supported an individual mandate in 1993 to oppose “Hillarycare”. And I quote “I am for people, individuals-exactly like automobile insurance-individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance. And I am prepared to vote for a voucher system which will give individuals, on a sliding scale, a government subsidy so we insure that everyone as individuals have health insurance.” He was also in favor of individual mandates in 2008.

Mitt Romney, the Republican’s front runner, signed an eerily similar health care bill into law in 2006. It forced the majority of Massachusettians (word?) to be covered by health insurance and fine those who were not. It also provided subsidies to those who couldn’t afford it and expanded Medicaid.

So, hypothetically and god forbidding, the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional. What happens? Well do you have diabetes, heart disease, anemia, a tooth ache (exaggeration)? NO HEALTH CARE FOR YOU, sorry. Are you 22, just graduated from college and still have no job? NO HEALTH CARE FOR YOU. Are you a part of the growing middle class that can barely afford gas? NO HEALTH CARE FOR YOU. The capital letters may have made it a bit extreme, but that’s seriously what will happen. Not to mention the millions of people who will no longer be able to afford their health insurance now. Then the rates go up cuz you have to pay for more uninsured people…so on and so forth.

The main argument is that Congress is overstepping their boundaries by forcing people to buy insurance. But let’s look back a little; does DOMA ring a bell for anyone? The Defense against Marriage Act explicitly told you who you could and could not marry. Even though some states allow gay marriage, under this act, it is not recognized by the federal government. Then came, what I like to call, the defense against women. Women should be forced to get an ultrasound before they have an abortion, contraceptive funding should be cut…blah blah blah, “women should be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen” is all I hear. You’re forced to buy car insurance. Not everyone has to buy a car, but if you do, you must get insurance. There are many folks who can afford health care and just don’t want to shell out the cash each month. At some point or another, you have to get a checkup (job, school, etc.). I don’t want to pay for you if you don’t have health insurance, but I do. So I’d much rather have the government force you to pay for yourself then force me to pay for you.

Now, I’m all for “If you don’t like something, do something about it.” But it just sounds like whines and cries from the right side. What are the Republicans going to replace “Obamacare” with? I have no clue, just leave it up to the states.  Their main focus is to repeal it; I don’t think they examined what to do after they’ve accomplished that. Romney doesn’t know because his health care bill was virtually the same as Obama’s. And the other candidates really don’t matter.

So, will the Supreme Court overrule it? Uhh, I don’t know. We won’t find out until June, but it’s a 5-4 Court, 5 being Conservative. It was 5-4 when Bush v. Gore was heard, and what happened? We got stuck with Bush. Don’t let anyone tell you that the Supreme Court isn’t influenced by politics, it always is. It didn’t sound too good when Justice Alito compared health insurance to broccoli though.

Will it hurt Obama’s chances if it gets overturned? Eh, I don’t think so. He can easily say that he tried and Repubs weren’t havin’ it. Will it hurt Americans? Oh most definitely.

Older Entries